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India's PSLV-C51 places Brazil's Amazonia-1, 18 co-passenger satellites in orbit
New Delhi, February 28, 2021
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C51) successfully placed Brazil's 637-kg Amazonia-1 earth observation satellite and 18 co-passenger satellites into their intended orbits on Sunday morning.
PSLV-C51 lifted off from the first launchpad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 1024 hours as scheduled, with Amazonia-1 and the18 co-passenger satellites on board.
Seventeen minutes and 23 seconds into the flight, the rocket slung Amazonia-1, its primary passenger, into its intended Sun Synchronous Orbit.
The other satellites were placed in orbit later in the succeeding one hour and 38 minutes in a predetermined sequence. At one hour and 55 minutes, this was the longest flight sequence for a PSLV mission.
PSLV-C51, the 53rd mission of PSLV, was the first dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under the Department of Space.
It is also the first mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2021.
NSIL has undertaken this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc. USA.
Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The satellite will strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory.
The 18 co-passenger satellites included four from IN-SPACe -- three UNITYsats from A consortium of three Indian academic institutes (Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur, G.H.Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore) and the Satish Dhawan Sat from Space Kidz Indi, with an engraved picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Bhagavad Gita in a flash.
The remaining 14 satellites are Sindhu Netra, an Indian technology demonstration satellite from Defence Research Development Organisation's (DRDO) research centre Imarat, Hyderabad to identify suspicious ships and 13 satellites from the USA viz., SAI-1 NanoConnect-2, a technology demonstration satellite and 12 SpaceBees satellites for two-way satellite communications and data relay.
ISRO sources said PSLV-C51 was the third flight of the "DL" variant of PSLV equipped with two solid strap-on boosters.
In normal configuration the PSLV is a four stage/engine expendable rocket powered by solid and liquid fuels alternatively. Six booster motors will also be strapped on to the first stage to give higher thrust during the initial flight moments.
The DL variant was used for the first time to put the Microsat R satellite into orbit on January 24, 2019.
The Indian space agency has PSLV variants with two and four strap-on motors, the larger PSLV-XL and the Core Alone variant without any strap-on motors.
The choice of the rocket to be used for a mission depends on the weight of the satellite and the orbit where the satellite has to be orbited.
This was the 78th launch vehicle mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
With today’s launch, the total number of customer satellites from foreign countries placed in orbit by PSLV is 342 satellites from 34 countries, ISRO added.