India on Thursday launched its own ‘sharp eye’ in the sky — the Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) — into space along with 30 other foreign satellites on board the workhorse PSLV rocket on Thursday.
The 44-metre four-stage PSLV, weighing about 230 tonnes, blasted off from the first launch pad into almost clear skies, leaving orange flames behind as per schedule at 9.58 am.
The exciting aspect came when the rocket’s fourth stage engine was switched off in just over 16 minutes after lift-off. A minute later, HysIS with a mission life of five years was placed in an orbit 636 km above the earth. It will travel over the poles and always face the son.
Thereafter, the rocket was brought to a lower altitude of 503 km and the fourth stage re-ignited 59.65 minutes after the lift-off. All the foreign satellites were placed into orbit 504 km above Earth. The final satellite was ejected into orbit 112.79 minutes after lift-off, completing the rocket’s job.
While 23 satellites were from the US, the rest were from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain. These satellites were commercially contracted for launch through Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of Isro.
With this mission, Isro crossed the milestone of putting 270 foreign satellites into orbit. The noteworthy aspect of the rocket mission wsa placing of satellites in two different orbits — one at a higher altitude and the others in a lower altitude.
After the successful launch, Isro chairman K. Sivan said, “Once again Indian space scientists showed their excellence. The PSLV injected the HysIS first and later the 30 foreign customers satellites.”
In a lighter vein, Dr Sivan, while looking at the foreign clients at the Mission Control, said, the rocket had “delivered their babies to their home safely” and credited PSLV for flawless performance.