India set to cross half century mark in launching foreign satellites

Chennai, Sep 24 (IANS) In an indication of its prowess in launching satellites for a fee, India will in all likelihood cross the half century milestone next week as six foreign satellites are scheduled for launch on September 28 at one go, the Indian space agency said on Thursday.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the rocket polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) will launch the country’s own ASTROSAT weighing 1,513 kg at 10 a.m. on Monday, apart from four from the US and one each from Indonesia and Canada.

The PSLV will carry a total payload of 1,631 kg during this mission.

The ISRO said standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320.2 tonnes, the PSLV rocket will blast off from the first launch pad with seven satellites.

Just over 22 minutes into the flight, the rocket will eject ASTROSAT at an altitude of around 650 km above the earth.

Soon after, six other satellites will be put into orbit and the whole mission will come to an end in just over 25 minutes.

ASTROSAT, with a life span of five years, is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory that will help in understanding our universe.

The space agency said ASTROSAT will observe the universe through optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum, whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing through a narrow wavelength band.

The Indonesian 76 kg LAPAN-A2 is a micro-satellite from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, meant for providing maritime surveillance using automatic identification system (AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out earth surveillance using video and digital camera.

The 14-kg NLS-14 (Ev9) of Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for Advanced Studies, is also a maritime monitoring Canadian nano satellite using the next generation AIS.

The remaining four LEMUR nano satellites from Spire Global Inc., San Francisco, US, are non-visual remote sensing satellites, focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking via AIS and high fidelity weather forecasting using GPS radio occultation technology, the ISRO said.

Till date, India has launched 45 foreign satellites for a fee.

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