Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Indian space research organisation for the successful launch of PSLV-C28 which was ISRO’s heaviest launch till date. Narendra Modi tweeted:  “Successful launch of PSLV-C28 with 5 UK satellites is a moment of immense pride & joy for India. Congratulations to the @isroteam.”  PSLV –C28 launched three identical commercial DMC3 optical earth observation satellites and two smaller satellites which were built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, United Kingdom (UK). The three DMC3 satellites weighs 447kg each. It got launched into a 647km sun-synchronous orbit using the high version of PSLV after a count down of 62.5 hours from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota on 10 July 2015 at 9:58 PM.

The 320 ton PSLV-C28 had many important flight events, as per ISRO “It included the ignition and separation of strap-ons, separation of the first stage, ignition of the second stage, separation of the payload fairing at about 118 km altitude after the vehicle had cleared the dense atmosphere, second stage separation, third stage ignition and third stage separation, fourth stage ignition and fourth stage cut-off. Once in the proper orbit, the three DMC3 satellites were successfully deployed about 18 minutes after lift-off in quick succession.  Following this, the 7 kg Nanosatellite De-Orbit Sail and the 91 kg Microsatellite CBNT-1 were also successfully deployed.”

The five satellites launched together weighed around 1440 kg at lift-off. ISRO’s official press release says “These five satellites were launched as part of the agreement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), UK and Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a government of India Company under the Department of Space (DOS).  This was the twenty-ninth consecutively successful flight of PSLV”.

ISRO is riding high on the success of space missions. The Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM)or Mangalyaan caught attention of whole world as most efficient and cost-benefit satellite launcher, ISRO became the fourth space agency to reach Mars after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency while ISRO is only agency to achieve this feat in it’s first attempt. ISRO’s launching vehicle PSLV has launched a total of 77 satellites from 1994 to 2015 through 29 flights with a total mass of 32.04 tons, of which 4.64 tons (utmost 14%) comprises foreign dealers.

Taking ISRO’s success into account, it’s hard to believe the kind of beginning ISRO had when their satellites and parts were carried on cycle and bullock cart. India had just got independence and investing in space mission seemed like a mockery of  a country whose majority of the population were under the poverty line. But with long sightedness and keeping future prosperity into account with effort of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was formed in 1962 by Department of Atomic Energy which superseded ISRO till 15 August 1969 when it went fully operational for space activities. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai said, “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the Moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”

Aryabhata was the first satellite to be built by ISRO, but it was launched by Soviet Union space agency in 1975. Rohini was the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3 in 1980. ISRO later developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which was used for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. India’s First Manned Space Mission’ is being planned in 2021 by ISRO and we wish it attains more heights in upcoming years.



Contributor: Shivaji Singh