|TE Narasimhan / March 01, 2021
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) got off to a great start with its first flight of the year 2021 on Sunday. PSLV-C51 successfully flew to successfully carry 19 payloads from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota. These payloads included 637 kg of Amazonia-1 from Brazil as well as 18 other satellites.
In one of these satellites, an e-copy of Bhagavad Gita was taken, on whose panel a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also engraved. The PSLV-C51 was launched at 10.24 am, the first commercial mission of ISRO’s commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). After a flight of about 17 minutes, the vehicle placed the Amazonia-1 in its intended orbit and successfully installed the remaining 18 satellites in their scheduled orbits in the next one hour and 38 minutes. Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This satellite will provide users with remote sensing data to monitor deforestation in the Amazon region and to analyze diverse agriculture in Brazilian regions. The 18 satellites included 4 in-space and 14 commercial satellites of NSIL (one from India and 13 from the US). Three of the four in-space satellites were UnitySat called Jeppiar Institute of Technology (Sriperumbudur), GH Raisoni It was jointly designed and built by the College of Engineering (Nagpur) and the Sri Shakti Institute of Engineering and Technology (Coimbatore). The fourth satellite was the Satish Dhawan Satellite (SDSAT) of Chennai-based Space Kids India, which will work towards promoting astronomy among students. SDSAT will also study space radiations among other functions. Apart from the name and photograph of Prime Minister Modi on its top panel, the satellite has also recorded the names of ISRO Chairman K Sivan and Scientific Secretary R Umamaheswaran on the bottom panel. Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Marcos Cesar Pontes, said, “Amazonia-1 is an important mission for Brazil, marking the beginning of a new era of satellite development in the country.
14 missions this year: Shivan
Indian Space Research Organization President K.K. Shivan told that this year ISRO will have a lot of excesses. Addressing the scientists at the Mission Control Center after the launch, he said, “We are working on about 14 missions this year.” These include six satellite missions, seven launch missions and one unmanned mission by the end of the year.
ISRO will launch two unmanned space missions ahead of its Gaganyaan manned mission. There are plans to send three Indians to space by the year 2022 under the Gaganyaan mission. Currently, the training of four test pilots selected for the Gaganyaan manned space mission is underway in Russia.
The PSLV-C51 is the 53rd flight of PSLV and the third flight of PSLV in the ‘DL’ configuration. It was the 78th launch mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota. With the launch on Sunday, ISRO has placed 342 customer satellites from 34 countries in relative orbit with the help of PSLV.