The Indian Space Organization (ISRO) has launched its polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) -C23 successfully from the first launch pad in Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota Space Station, 100 km north of Chennai.
This achievement of ISRO was described by the Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi as an ‘endorsement’ of the country’s space capabilities. PSLV-C23 rocket carried five foreign satellites from four countries on board and placed them into their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes after the launch.
The PSLV-C23 lifted off at 9.52 am on 30th June, 2014 Monday. Even though the Mission Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board had cleared the launch, the launch time was rescheduled to 9.52 instead of its scheduled time 9.49 am. This change in the launching time by three minutes is attributed to avoid the probable threat of space debris coming in the way of the rocket.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, commonly known as PSLV, is a launch system developed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The launch system was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun synchronous orbits. PSLV can also launch small size satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). This orbit is highly elliptical orbit of the Earth with an apogee of 42,164km, or 35,786 km above sea level.
The Launch vehicle, PSLV-C23, carried with it SPOT-7, a French earth-observing satellite as the main payload. This main payload was injected into a 655-km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Besides its primary payload of 714 Kg, PSLV C23 carried and placed in orbit NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada with a weight of 15 kg and 7 kg, VELOX-1 of Singapore and AISAT of Germany which weighs 14 kg.
The launch vehicle, PSLV has superb reliability rate. Till June 2014, there had been 26 continuous successful flights. It has proved its multi-mission and multi-payload capacity in a single launch and its capacity of geosynchronous launch. PSLV has repeatedly proven its versatility by launching 70 satellite / spacecraft (40 foreign and 30 Indian satellites) into a variety of orbits.
Antrix is the commercial and marketing arm of the ISRO. The five satellites were launched under the commercial arrangements that ISRO’s commercial arm entered with the foreign agencies. Apart from these five satellites, ISRO has so far launched another 35 satellites from 19 countries around the globe – Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan Korea, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and UK. This commercial arrangement is bringing a huge amount of Foreign exchange to the country.
ISRO has won international attention in the last couple of years, with a number of successful commercial and non-commercial launches. ISRO has also showcased its capability to the world in an effective manner with its Moon and Mars program. It is also offering reliable and economical space products and also services to the International customers. Some reports predicts a growth of 15% in the segment of commercial launch market over the next few years. The needs and the growing aspirations of smaller nations in the 21st century to make use of space system provide India a great opportunity to expand its commercial base to the needs of various Asian, European and Latin American countries. Now the time has come to move beyond the wishful thinking and projections to prove India’s position in this sector within the backdrop of global realities.