ISRO’s PSLV-C42 launches two UK satellites

The premier Indian Space Research ORganisation (ISRO) last night  launched two foreign earth observation satellites – NovaSAR and S1-4 – from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota. The PSLV-C42 launch vehicle carrying the two satellites of the UK blasted off at 10.08 PM. According to ISRO officials, it was a perfect lift-off.

Both satellites were injected into the Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 17 minutes later, at an altitude of 583 km. The satellites belong to UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which has a contract with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.

NovaSAR carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and an Automatic Identification Receiver payloads.  The satellite applications include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions. It will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK.

S1-4 is a high resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring. This was the 44th flight of PSLV and the 12th flight of the Core Alone version of the vehicle. Core Alone is its lightest version without the six strap-on motors. It is used for launching smaller payloads.

The PSLV launch vehicle consists of four stages, each of which is a self-contained vehicle capable of functioning independently with own propulsion systems. During the previous launch (PSLV-C41, 12 April 2018), the ‘XL’ version of PSLV with six strap-on motors was used. The vehicle successfully launched the IRNSS-1I navigation satellite to a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan congratulated the team soon after the successful mission. As on date, ISRO has launched 239 foreign satellites of 28 countries. While NovaSAR would be used for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring, the S1-4 is intended to be used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.

Soon after the launch, Prime Minister Narenra Modi congratulated ISRO and hailed it for demonstrating India’s prowess in the competitive space business.  “Congratulations to our space scientists! ISRO successfully launched PSLV C42, putting two UK satellites in orbit, demonstrating India’s prowess in the competitive space business,” Modi wrote on Twitter.

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