Sriharikota: Heralding a new era, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday night successfully placed into orbit five British satellites using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C28, in a landmark mission.
ISRO's workhorse 44.4 metre PSLV-C28, a PSLV-XL version, hurtled towards the night skies with a rich orange flame at its tail and a plume of white fume as it placed the five satellites in sun synchronous orbit about 20 minutes after lift off at 9.58 pm from the Satish Dhawan space Centre here.
According to ISRO, this is the heaviest commercial luggage carried by a PSLV rocket till date with the five satellites weighing around 1,440 kg.
ISRO later tweeted that the launch has been successful.
PSLV C28 successfully launches five UK Satellites pic.twitter.com/1vHk46HOSu
— ISRO (@isro) July 10, 2015
"It's been a wonderful mission. We have had an extremely successful mission," a beaming ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said from the Mission Control Centre amidst resounding cheers from the assembled scientists.
While Friday's rocket flight is the first commercial rocket launch for the Indian space agency this calendar year, in terms of number of rocket launches for 2015, it is the second after the launch of navigation satellite-IRNSS-1D earlier in March.
Of the five payloads, three are mini-satellites DMC3-1, DMC3-2 and DMC3-3, each weighing 447 kg whereas two are auxiliary satellites, - CBNT-1 micro-satellite (91kg) and De-orbitSail (7kg).
The three DMC3 and the CBNT-1 satellites are built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. The De-OrbitSail is built by Surrey Space Centre.
These satellites can image any target on the Earth's surface every day. Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring disasters.
The life of the mission is seven years.
Earlier successful launches by ISRO -- Mars Orbiter Mission which was launched in Nov 5, 2013 and Chandrayaan-1 launched in Oct 22, 2008 were with similar PSLV-XL variants.
Since 1999 till date, India has launched 40 satellites of other countries with its PSLV rocket and with today's successful launch of the five British satellites, the tally has now risen to 45.
(With Agency inputs)