In its thirty first flight (PSLV-C30) conducted today (September 28, 2015), India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched ASTROSAT, the country’s Multi Wavelength Space Observatory along with six foreign customer satellites into a 644.6 X 651.5 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 deg to the equator. The achieved orbit is very close to the intended one. This was the thirtieth consecutive success for PSLV.
PSLV was launched today in its heaviest ‘XL’ version with six strap-on motors of the first stage. The launch took place from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India.
The 320 tonne, 45 m tall PSLV-C30 carrying seven satellites including the 1513 kg ASTROSAT, lifted off at 10:00 Hrs IST. About twenty two minutes after lift-off, ASTROSAT was successfully placed in orbit and separated from the fourth stage of PSLV-C30. The separation of all the six co-passenger satellites was completed in the subsequent three minutes. The seven satellites carried by PSLV-C30 together weighed about 1631 kg at lift-off.
After a 50 hour smooth count down, the 320 ton PSLV-C28 was launched with the ignition of its first stage. The important flight events included the ignition and separation of the strap-ons, separation of the first stage, ignition of the second stage, separation of the payload fairing 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.
Through 30 successful flights during 1994-2015 period, PSLV has launched a total of 84 satellites including the seven satellites successfully launched today. The vehicle has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits including polar Sun Synchronous, Geosynchronous Transfer and Low Earth orbits of small inclination thereby emerging as the workhorse launch vehicle of India.
So far, 51 satellites have been launched by PSLV for customers from abroad. Today’s launch of six co-passenger satellites by PSLV-C30 was facilitated by Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a government of India Company under the Department of Space (DOS).
Soon after its separation from PSLV-C30, the two solar arrays of ASTROSAT were automatically deployed and the Spacecraft Control Centre at the Mission Operations Complex of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took control of ASTROSAT.
ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe. ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.
ASTROSAT was realised by ISRO with the participation of all major astronomy institutions including Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) of Pune, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) at Mumbai, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP) and Raman Research Institute (RRI) of Bangalore as well as some of the Universities in India and two institutions from Canada and the UK.
In the coming days, ASTROSAT will be brought to the final operational configuration and all its five scientific payloads will be thoroughly tested before the commencement of regular operations.
Today’s successful flight of PSLV further underscores the reliability and versatility of PSLV as well as the robustness of its design.