ISRO launches spy satellite into orbit on PSLV’s historic 50th mission

The PSLV carrying remote-imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1 and nine other foreign commercial satellites lifted off from the first launch pad at the spaceport here at 3:25 pm. Photo: ISRO/Twitter

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday (December 11) successfully injected into orbit the country’s remote-imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1 (spy satellite) along with nine other foreign commercial satellites.

Speaking from the Mission Control Centre, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said that today’s mission was a historic one coinciding with PSLV’s 50th flight. “ISRO has made a historic mission… I am extremely happy to declare that the 50th PSLV vehicle successfully injected RISAT-2BR1 precisely into the 576 km orbit,” he said.

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RISAT-2BR1 was a “complex” satellite but was built in a short time, he said and lauded the team behind the effort. Regarding PSLV, he recalled and acknowledged the contribution of “exemplary leaders” like Dr Srinivasan, Dr Madhavan Nair and others from the conceptualising-configuration stage till date.

The 44.4 metre tall PSLV lifted off from the first launch pad at the spaceport here at 3:25 pm. RISAT-2BR1 was placed into orbit around 16 minutes after the lift off while the remaining satellites were released in their respective orbits around five minutes later.

Apart from being used for military purposes, the key applications of RISAT-2BR1 include agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

While six satellites from the US would be used for multi-mission remote sensing purposes, the one launched by Italy was aimed at taking up search and rescue. A radar imaging earth observation satellite built by Japan and another by Israel were also launched.

The satellites are being launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Ltd.

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The 628 kg remote imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR follows RISAT-2B, which was placed successfully in orbit in May this year.

PSLV’s payload capacity has increased from 860 kg to 1.9 tonnes and the “versatile vehicle” has carried 52.7 tonne so far, 17% of which was customer satellites, he said.

ISRO said that the mission life is five years.

Of the total 50 missions, 48 have been successful for ISRO.

Some significant launches by PSLV include Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and the record launch of 104 satellites in one go earlier.