Sriharikota: : Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday created history by successfully launching the country’s 16th remote sensing satellite, Oceansat-2, and six European nano satellites into orbit through its space carrier Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in just twenty minutes.
The 44.4-metre tall, 230-tonne Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) freed itself from the launch pad at the spaceport at 11:51 am and lifted itself up, lugging the 960-kg Oceansat-2 and the six nano satellites all together weighing 20 kg.
In copybook style, the rocket first flung out Oceansat-2 at an altitude of 720 km above the earth in a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), followed by the four nano satellites - also called Cubesats, each weighing one kg. The remaining two, each weighing eight kg, were attached to the rocket`s fourth stage.
The six nano satellites are owned by European universities - four from Germany and one each from Switzerland and Turkey. They were launched under a commercial agreement.
ISRo chief G Madhavan Nair said the “launch was successful” and said that he is “extremely proud to reach the target on time”. He also congratulated expressed gratitude to his colleagues and said that it would have “not been possible without my team”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed his congratulations for the successful launch, informed Nair.
The orbit is designed in such a way that the satellite will cross Equator at 12 noon near India.
A global leader in remote sensing data, India has so far launched 15 remote sensing satellites, of which nine are still in operation.
Oceansat-1, launched in 1999, is still in service but will slowly go into oblivion.
According to ISRO spokesman S Satish, Oceansat-2 has a design life of five years and may outlive this like its earlier version.
Oceansat-2 will be used for identifying potential fishing zones, sea-state forecasting, coastal zone studies, weather forecasting and climate studies.
Apart from the ISRO-developed 76 kg Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) and a Ku-band pencil beam Scatterometer, the satellite will also have a Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric Studies (ROSA) developed by the Italian Space Agency.
The Scatterometer, with a ground resolution of 50 km x 50 km, is expected to provide accurate information on wind speed and direction.
The eight-band OCM, with a 360-metre spatial resolution and a swath of 1,420 km, will provide information about a particular area every two days.
According to Satish, ISRO would earn an unspecified amount of dollars as the carriage fee from the European owners of the six nano satellites piggy backing on Oceansat-2.