India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C45) has launched EMISAT (Electromagnetic Intelligence Satellite) and 28 international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-QL, a new variant of PSLV with four strap-on motors.
The EMISAT is expected to drastically improve surveillance and satellite imagery. EMISAT is a satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 bus weighing about 436 kg. PSLV-C45 lifted off at 9:27 Hrs (IST) from the Second Launch Pad and injected India’s EMISAT into a 748 km sun-synchronous polar orbit, 17 minutes and 12 seconds after liftoff. After separation, the two solar arrays of EMISAT were deployed automatically and the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bangalore assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.
Following the separation of EMISAT, the vehicle’s fourth stage engines were restarted twice to place the 28 international customer satellites precisely into a sun-synchronous orbit of 504 km height. The last customer satellite was placed into its designated orbit 1 hour and 55 minutes after lift-off.
About 3 hours after lift-off, the fourth stage (PS4) of the vehicle was moved to a lower circular orbit of 485 km after two restarts to establish it as an orbital platform for carrying out experiments with its three payloads.
The 28 international customer satellites, together weighing about 220 kg, are from four countries : Lithuania (2), Spain (1), Switzerland (1) and USA (24). These foreign satellites were launched as part of commercial arrangements.
The payloads carried by PS4 are Automatic Identification System from ISRO, Automatic Packet Repeating System from AMSAT, India and Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for ionospheric studies from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology.
“Today’s PSLV mission was unique in several ways. It was a four strap-on new variant, the vehicle achieved three different orbits and for the first the PS4 stage is powered by solar panels,” said Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO. He added that a new PSLV team executed today’s mission. Dr Sivan also placed on record the significant involvement of the industry in this mission.
So far, PSLV has launched 46 national satellites, 10 satellites built by students from Indian Universities and 297 international customer satellites, including the satellites launched today. In its next mission, PSLV-C46 will launch RISAT-2B in May 2019.
This mission included the launch of Spire’s 100th Lemur satellite. Spire’s CubeSats offer data and analytics for parts of the world where collecting data is notoriously difficult, tracking ships, planes, and weather in remote regions which often go unmonitored. To date, of the 100 satellites Spire has launched, 37 were on NanoRacks missions from the Space Station, the Cygnus Spacecraft, and now PSLV.
“Spire has been with us from the beginning, not just as a customer but as a partner, working alongside us to pioneer new capabilities across platforms on the Space Station, Cygnus, and now finally on the PSLV. Spire’s diversified launch approach and willingness to embrace new technologies continues to foster the marketplace and we couldn’t be more excited to have deployed the 100th satellite,” said Conor Brown, NanoRacks Payloads Director. This is NanoRacks’ first CubeSat deployment mission on ISROs PSLV. This mission was brokered on behalf of Spire, which now has four more of their LEMUR 3U CubeSats in orbit.