The commercial launch capability of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) reached a new high on 10 July when it successfully launched five satellites for the UK into space.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C28) took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 9.58pm.
Around 20 minutes later, the rocket placed three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites, an auxiliary earth observation micro satellite (CBNT-1) and one technology demonstrator nanosatellite (De-OrbitSail), built by SSTL, in the designated orbits.
For the ninth time, ISRO used an XL version of the rocket with an additional strap-on. The heaviest commercial mission undertaken places ISRO as a major player for space industries internationally and as a leading foreign exchange earner for India.
“It was a wonderful launch,” said ISRO chairperson AS Kiran Kumar soon after the launch. “We’ve put all the five satellites of our customers in orbit.”
The liftoff mass of the five satellites adds up to 1,440kg—twice more than the mass of its last commercial launch of SPOT 7—a French satellite weighing 712kg that was put in orbit by PSLV last year.