Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 26 September 2016 successfully launched eight satellites in two different orbits in a single mission. These satellites were launched with the PSLV C35 from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta.
The satellites that was carried into space include the primary payload SCATSAT-1 of India, weighing 371 kg, and seven other customer payloads (five foreign and two domestic) together weighing 304 kg during lift off. The weather satellite SCATSAT-1 will be hurled into a polar sun synchronous orbit of 730 kilometer height.
The other seven satellites that will be injected into a different orbit as compared to the principal payload are
• Three smaller payloads from Algeria: Alsat-1B 103 kg, Alsat-2B 110 kg and Alsat Nano 7 kg. They are meant for earth observation, remote sensing and technology demonstration.
• One from US: Pathfinder-1 of 44 kg. It is a high resolution imaging microsatellite and is owned by BlackSky.
• One from Canada: NLS-19 of 8 kg developed at University of Toronto, Canada. It is a nano-satellite to experiment reduction of space debris.
• The other two satellites are from India and they are
a) Pratham: A student-satellite of the IIT, Bombay. It would estimate the total electron count with a resolution of 1km x 1km location grid.
b) PISAT (पैसेट): It is developed by a consortium-led by the PES University in Bengaluru. It would explore remote sensing applications.
The two Universities/Academic Institute Satellites and the five foreign satellites were placed into a 670 km polar orbit. This was the first mission of PSLV in which launched its payloads into two different orbits.
SCATSAT-1 of India would serve as a continuity mission for the highly acclaimed Oceansat-2 that has completed its operational life. Its data to accurately predict the landfall of the Cyclone Phailin in Odisha coast recently helped avoid major loss of lives as precautionary measures could be taken in advance.
As per reports, this will be made possible by shutting down and restarting the fourth and last stage of the vehicle twice during the flight. The ISRO has gained valuable expertise on restarting the engine of the polar synchronous satellite launch vehicle PSLV in space during June 2016 and December 2015. Through them, the scientists of the space agency gained the expertise to use a single launch mission to inject multiple satellites in different orbits altogether.
So far, the PSLV has launched 39 remote-sensing satellites of ISRO including the Chandrayaan-1 of 2008 and the Mars mission of 2013-14. Apart from this, it has also launched 74 foreign commercial and university satellites.
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