Trusted PSLV rocket puts 3 satellites in orbit

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Sriharikota (AP), April 20: ISRO today (April 20) put in orbit three satellites using its trusted PSLV rocket, the space agency's first successful mission after the the GSLV launch failure in December last year.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), on its 18th flight, soared into the sky from the spaceport here at 10:12 am leaving behind a white plume of smoke.

Space scientists gathered at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre applauded every stage of the rocket's progress and its placing of three satellites into orbit at an altitude of 822 kms exactly 18 minutes after lift-off.

Emerging out of the mission control centre, a beaming ISRO Chairman K Radhakrihanan announced the success of the mission terming it as a "text-book" launch. The rocket had maintained its desired trajectory all through the launch.

The rocket placed into orbit Resourcesat-2, an advanced earth observation satellite, Youthsat, the 92 kg Indo-Russian satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies, and the 106 kg X-SAT for imaging applications built by the Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University.

The ISRO chief's announcement was cheered by the battery of scientists at the mission control centre, who heaved a sigh of relief as they were gripped by an added anxiety following two successive failures of GSLV missions last year.

The 1,206 kg Resourcesat-2 with a space life of five years replaces Resourcesat-1 launched in 2003 and would provide data with enhanced multispectral and spatial coverage on natural resources.

The GSLV mission in December last year failed when the homegrown GSLV F06 carrying communication satellite GSAT-5P exploded mid-air less than a minute after lift-off and fell into the Bay of Bengal.

GSAT-5P, carrying 24 C-band and 12 extended C-band transponders, plunged into the sea when the destruct command was issued as the rocket veered from its flight path.

Earlier, the GSLV-D3 mission carrying GSAT-4 had also failed in April 2010, dealing a blow to India's space programme.

Today's PSLV flight was its 17th successive mission after the failure of its maiden voyage in September 1993. 

PTI

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