PSLV on a unique mission on June 22 to launch 20 satellites

CHENNAI, June 17:  In one of the biggest launch in terms of number of satellites, the Indian Space Agency ISRO, will launch 20 satellites in a single mission from the Satish Dhawan spaceport in Sriharikota on June 22.

ISRO sources said the ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C34, in its 36th flight, will launch the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 series  satellite for earth observation and 19 co-passenger satellites  together weighing about 560 kg from the Second Launch Pad at Sriharikota at 0925 hrs.

The previous biggest mission was on April 28, 2008 when  PSLV-C9 successfully launched 10 satellites.

The ISRO would be using the ‘XL’ configuration for this mission. This would be the 14th flight of PSLV in the ‘XL’ version with the use of solid strap-on motors.

Soon after lift off, the satellites would be injected into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Wnile Cartosat-2 series would be the main payload, the  co-passenger satellites would be from USA, Canada, Germany  and Indonesia as well as two satellites from Indian University and Academic Institute.

The total weight of all the 20 satellites carried onboard  PSLV-C34 was about 1288 kg.

The ISRO’s trusted launch vehicle, PSLV, in its previous 35 missions had completed 34 successive successful launches in a span of over two decades.

The PSLV has so far launched 57 satellites of other countries  that included multiple satellites in a single mission.  The first foreign satellite launched by PSLV was DLR-TUBSAT  of Germany on May 26, 1999 along with KITSAT-3 of Korea.

The Cartosat-2 series was the primary satellite carried by  PSLV-C34 and it was similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B.

After its injection into the 505 km polar SSO, the satellite,  with a design life of five years, would be brought to operational  configuration following which it would begin providing regular  remote sensing services using it panchromatic and multispectral  cameras.

The imagery sent by the satellite would be useful for cartographic  applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and  regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water  distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change  detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various  other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information  System (GIS) applications.


The co-passenger satellites for international customers included 12 Dove Satellites from US being carried in three Quadpack dispensers.       The foreign satellites are LAPAN-A3 of Indonesia. It is a 120 kg microsatellite for earth observation (multi-spectral remote sensing) for land use, natural resource and environment monitoring.

BIROS (Berlin Infrared Optical System) is a 130 kg small  scientific satellite from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). It’s main mission objective was the remote sensing of high temperature events.

The 85 kg M3MSat (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging  Micro-satellite) is a technology demonstration mission  jointly funded and managed by Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It’s primary mission is collection and study of Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from low Earth orbit.

The 110 kg SkySat Gen2-1 (Skysat-3) is a small earth imaging satellite designed and built by Terra Bella, a  Google company based at Mountain View in California in USA. It is capable of capturing sub-meter resolution  imagery and HD video.

The 25.5 kg GHGSat-D is a Canadian earth observation satellite built by Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies and it was meant for measuring atmospheric concentration of green house gases (Carbon Dioxide and Methane).

The Planet Labs Dove Satellites (Flock-2P) from USA are earth imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove  satellites, each weighing 4.7 kg, are being carried in this mission inside three Quadpack dispensers.

The University Academic Insitutte Satellites from India were from Sathyabhama University in Chennai  (1.5 kg Sathyabamasat) and College of Engineering, Pune (one kg Swayam).

While Sathyabamasat was aimed at collecting data on gree house gases (water vapour, carbon monoxide,  carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen fluoride), the mission objective of Swayam was to provide point to  point messaging services to the HAM community. (UNI)