M A I N   N E W S

India puts 2 satellites into orbit
Smooth launch at Sriharikota
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Sriharikota, May 5
India surged ahead in space science as scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here today successfully launched the PSLV-C6 and placed two remote-sensing satellites, CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT in the polar sun synchronous orbit exactly at 10.32 am.

It was a paradox of sorts and the PSLV — C6’s launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at the Sriharikota High-Altitude Range in Andhra Pradesh carried its heaviest remote-sensing satellite as well as its lightest.

The blast-off took place at the pre-ordained hour — 10.14 am — as President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam watched quietly. The next 18 minutes were tense with expectation.

While ISRO officials, including its Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, did not anticipate any problems, every moment of the 18 minutes passed like an hour as they watched the heavy CARTOSAT – 1 and HAMSAT being deposited in a sun synchronous Orbit (SSO) at 10-32 am and then congratulated each other.

The ninth flight of the PSLV was as awesome as the others, but it had achieved a feat which a third-world country like India could never have dreamt of as the vehicle was nearly 90 per cent indigenous.

President Kalam, a famous scientist in his own right and who had launched many spaceships before, congratulated the ISRO scientists for the successful mission, saying, “The country is proud of you.”

Mr Nair immediately announced that the entire system was working perfectly and informed that this was the first time that two satellites of different configurations were launched together.

He said, “It’s a heartening mission. This is the first flight from the second launch pad. We were working against all kinds of odds like sun, rain and wind.”

The 1.56-tonne CARTOSAT will aid the nation in its mapping applications while the 42.5-kg HAMSAT, a micro-satellite, will be a boon to amateur radio services.

The Rs 400-crore state-of-the-art second launch pad will increase the frequency of additional and more sophisticated launches.

CARTOSAT-1 is India’s 11th remote-sensing satellite. It can photograph objects smaller than a passenger car on a road with a three-dimensional view and send back high-resolution ‘stereoscopic’ pictures to the earth using the latest panchromatic cameras. It is the first satellite to carry two cameras to click 3-D images.

Now, Indian topographic maps can be updated for five years without a break – coinciding with the lifespan of CARTOSAT –1, which cost the exchequer about Rs 250 crore.

HAMSAT will have a mission lifespan of two years and will service amateur radio operators in the South-Asian region. It is also India’s first theme-based micro-satellite.

Today’s launch ensures that a small prototype of the early warning system of cyclones, tsunamis and similar natural catastrophes is in place.

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