India's PSLV-C51 places Brazil's Amazonia-1 in orbit
Image: ISRO

India's PSLV-C51 places Brazil's Amazonia-1 in orbit

New Delhi, February 28, 2021

India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C51) today successfully placed Brazil's 637-kg Amazonia-1 earth observation satellite into orbit.

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 18 co-passenger satellites on board.

Seventeen minutes into the flight, the rocket slung Amazonia-1, its primary passenger, into its intended Sun Synchronous Orbit. The other satellites would be placed in orbit later in the one hour and 55 minute-long flight sequence -- the longest for a PSLV mission.

PSLV-C51, the 53rd mission of PSLV, is 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 ISRO in 2021.

NSIL has undertaken this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc. USA.

Amazonia-1Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This satellite would further 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 include four from IN-SPACe (three UNITYsats from 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), one Satish Dhawan Sat from Space Kidz India) 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 is 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.

(With inputs from IANS)

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