The EMISAT satellite is aimed at electromagnetic measurement.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the country’s newest satellite, EMISAT, from Sriharikota launch station on Monday. The spacecraft meant to provide electronic intelligence to the Armed Forces is the first of its kind for the country.
It took off on the four-stage PSLV-C45 rocket at 9.27 a.m. along with 28 small commercial satellites from the second launch pad at the spaceport of Sriharikota.
EMISAT was released first 17 minutes into the launch at an orbit 749 km away. The small satellites were to be released after about 40 minutes at a lower orbit of 504 km.
The countdown for the project began on Sunday on board Indian Space Research Organisation’s third generation workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its 47th flight, ISRO said.
The mission will mark several firsts to the credit of the space agency as it would manoeuvre satellites in various orbits and orbital experiments including on maritime satellite applications.
According to ISRO, a new variant of the rocket PSLV-QL equipped with four Strap-On motors in the first stage is used for the launch.
PSLV, also used in India’s two key missions — “Chandrayan” in 2008 and Mars Orbiter in 2013, is a reliable and versatile launch vehicle for ISRO with 39 consecutive successful flights till June, 2017 and five-in-a row from January 2018.
The rocket has encountered only two failures so far — its maiden developmental flight ended unsuccessful way back in 1993. In September, 2017 the flight went off without any hitch but the IRNSS-1H Satellite could not be released into orbit after the PSLV-C39’s heat shield failed to open on reaching the orbit.
In Monday’s mission, ISRO scientists would place the satellites and payloads in three different orbits, a first for the agency.
After injecting the 436 kg primary satellite EMISAT, intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement, they would restart the fourth stage again.
During this initiative, all the other 28 customer satellites, totally weighing about 220 kgs, would be released by lowering the fourth state to around 504 kms orbit.
Again, the fourth stage would be reignited and further lowered to 485 kms orbit to serve as an orbital platform for carrying out space borne experimentations for the first time in ISRO’s history.
According to ISRO, this is the first time it has been envisaged to provide a micro-gravity environment for research organisations and academic institutes to perform experiments.
The PS4-fourth stage hosts three payloads in this mission.
They are automatic identification system from ISRO for Maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships.
Automatic Packet Repeating System from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), India to assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data.
Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for lonospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) for the structural and composition studies of ionosphere.
The other 28 international satellites — 25 3U type, two 6U type and one 2U type nano satellites — are from Lithuania (two), Spain (1), Switzerland (1) and the United States (24).
All these satellites are being launched under commercial arrangements, ISRO said.
The previous launches by ISRO this year include the imaging satellite Microsat-R for military purpose along with 1.2 kg Kalamsat in January onboard PSLV-C44.
In February, ISRO launched India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 from the European launch service provider Ariane from French Guiana.