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PSLV-C18 successfully launched, 4 satellites placed in orbit

ISRO's PSLV C-18 launched successfully on Wednesday. Photo: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation on Wednesday successfully launched its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C18 ( PSLV-C18) and placed four satellites in their designated orbits.

The Indo-French satellite Megha-Tropiques will track the weather, and two satellites are for educational institutions, and the fourth is from Luxembourg.

“The launch was a great success and it demonstrates the reliability and versatility of PSLV as a launching platform,” said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan, at a press conference at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The 1000kg weather satellite Megha-Tropiques, developed jointly by ISRO and the French national space agency, CNES was placed in orbit at an altitude of 867 km and it will study climatic and atmospheric changes in the tropics and help predict monsoons, cyclones, floods and droughts, he said.

“It is going to help us understand our climate better…This knowledge will also help our farmers,” explained Radhakrishnan about the satellite that was developed jointly at a cost of Rs 86 crore (Rs. 860 million).

The other satellites launched were a 28.7kg VesselSat-1 from Luxembourg and a 3kg Jugnu developed by IIT Kanpur and another 10.9kg SRMSat by SRM University in Chennai.

Jugnu will take images of the earth in the near-infrared region, while SRMSat will study carbon-dioxide and water vapour levels in the atmosphere. VesselSat will track and locate ships in the sea.

The PSLV is the first operational launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 kg satellite in geo-synchronous transfer orbit. In the standard configuration, it measures 44.4 m tall, with a lift off weight of 295 tonnes. PSLV has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately.

The first stage is one of the largest solid propellant boosters in the world and carries 139 tonnes of propellant. A cluster of six strap-ons attached to the first stage motor, four of which are ignited on the ground and two are air-lit.

The reliability rate of PSLV has been impressive with 19 continuously successful flights of PSLV as of October 2011. With its variant configurations, PSLV has proved its multi-payload, multi-mission capability in a single launch and its geosynchronous launch capability.

In the Chandrayaan-mission, another variant of PSLV with an extended version of strap-on motors, PSOM-XL, the payload haul was enhanced to 1750 kg in 620 km SSPO.

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