After nearly a year of silence, Sriharikota is back in action with Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV-C49 successfully lifting off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Saturday afternoon.
The rocket, in its 51th flight, carried an all-weather earth imaging satellite EOS-01, previously called RISAT-2BR2, and nine foreign satellites.
The rocket lifted off at 3.12pm, instead of at the scheduled time of 3.02pm. The launch was postponed by 10 minutes due to inclement weather conditions observed during countdown.
More than 15 minutes after liftoff, the launch vehicle successfully injected its primary payload, EOS-01, into a low earth orbit. It was followed by nine customer satellites.
EOS-01 carried an X-band synthetic-aperture radar. The space agency said EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
After the success of the mission, Isro chairman K Sivan said this was a very “special and unusual mission” for the space agency. “Space activity cannot be done from home. Especially during a launch, every engineer, technician and all other employees must travel from different centres and work together here at SHAR. Also, various hardware had to be carefully transported from various centres.”
“Our Isro team rose to the occasion and worked with limited staff, followed all government protocols with no compromise on quality,” he said.
Sivan said three more launches are lined up including PSLV-C50 carrying CMS01, launch of new vehicle SSLV carrying EOS-02 and GSLV F-10 carrying EOS-03.
9 other satellites placed in orbit
The foreign satellites include an R2 satellite from Lithuania, which was a technology demonstration, four Kleos (KSM-1A/1B/1C/1D) satellites from Luxembourg for maritime applications and four Lemur (Lemur-1/2/3/4) satellites from the US meant for multi-mission remote sensing application.
Saturday’s launch was the first launch for Isro after the Covid-19 pandemic delayed its schedules. It was 76th launch vehicle mission from the Sriharikota spaceport, 38th launch from the first launch pad and second flight of PSLV with ‘DL’ variant carrying two strap-on boosters.