Sriharikota, Apr 28: Creating a world record of sorts, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully launched ten satellites in a single mission with the PSLV-C9 placing CARTOSAT-2A, IMS-1 and eight foreign satellites in the intended orbit.
In its 13th flight, PSLV-C9, the reliable workhorse of the ISRO, placed the 690 kg CARTOSAT-2A satellite and the 83 kg Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) as well as eight Nanosatellites (all put together 50 kg) from abroad into the 635 km Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
It was an awesome sight as the 44 m-tall humongous four-stage vehicle, sporting the logo of Indian tricolour at the cone-shaped tip, roared into the skies, spitting orange flames and leaving a trail of smoke with a rumble that shook the earth. After the text-book precision lift off, the flight was flawless as it injected the main payload -- 690 kg Indian Remote Sensing Satellite CARTOSAT-2A into the 635 km intended orbit, inclined at an angle of 97.94 degrees to the equator, 885 seconds after the PSLV-C9 lift off from the sophisticated Second Launch Pad at 0923 hrs, amid cheers from the scientists at the Mission Control Centre (MCC).
Forty-five seconds later, the core alone PSLV-C9, minus the six strap-on motors, was also placed in the intended orbit IMS-1. All the eight nano satellites from abroad were also placed in the orbit in the set sequence. The entire process lasted 1440 seconds or 24 minutes.
The PSLV-C9 lifted off from SHAR Range at 0923 hrs with the ignition of the first stage. The ignition and separation of the remaining three stages were also smooth after burn out.
The families of ISRO employees had also gathered in large numbers to witness the historic launch.
Joyous scenes were witnessed at the Mission Control Centre and at the media centre as the computer screens flashed the sequence of the injection of the PSLV-C9 into the intended orbit.
An extremely delighted ISRO Chief G Madhavan Nair for whom this was the eighth success (after the failure of GSLV in July 2006), was seen sharing his joy with fellow scientists by hugging and shaking hands with them.
The unique feature of this launch was that for the first time ISRO had launched ten satellites in one mission. CARTOSAT-2A carried a state-of-the-art Panchromatic camera (PAN) capable of taking black-and-white pictures in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The imagery would have a spatial resolution of about one metre.
CARTOSAT-2A, the 13th in the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Series, also carried a Solid State Recorder with a capacity of 64 GB to store the images taken by its camera.
The images could later be transmitted when the satellite comes within the visibility of a ground station.
ISRO said PAN imagery with one metre spatial resolution would be invaluable in urban infrastructure and transportation system planning, monitoring and implementation, mapping individual settlements and internal roads, urban complexes and urban utilities, planning rural roads and infrastructure development that require detailed terrain evaluation at large scales upto 1:2500.
''Delineation and characterisation of micro watersheds is another important area which can be benefited by Cartosat-2A data. Coastal land also can also be monitored using the data from this satellite,'' the sources said.
''Cartosat-2A's better than one metre resolution images can also enable cartographers to update and integrate cadastral information which, in turn, can be a major fillip in the evolution of a Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS).
The IMS-1 was specifically developed by ISRO for remote sensing purposes and to carry different payloads in future without sigificant changes in it. Weighing 83 kg at lift-off, IMS-1, being flown as an auxiliary payload, incorporates many new technologies and has miniaturised subsystems.
IMS-1 carries two optical payloads -- a Multispectral camera (Mx Payload) and a Hyperspectral camera (HySI Payload). Both Mx and HySI payloads operate in the visible and near infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The imagery from Mx camera would be provided to developing countries, while those from HySI camera would be for usage in India.
Six of the eight foreign nanosatellites were clustered together and have the collective name NLS-4. The other two nano satellites were NLS-5, built by University of Toronto and and RUBIN-8, built in Germany.
NLS-4 also developed by University of Toronto, Canada, consists of six nanosatellites built by various Universities.
Two of them, CUTE 1.7 and SEEDS were built in Japan, while the other four -- CAN-X2, AAUSAT-II, COMPASS-1 AND DELPHI-C3 -- were built in Canada, Denmark, Germany and Netherlands respectively.
The eight nanosatellites were built to develop nanotechnologies for use in satellites as well as for the development of technologies for satelltie applications.