Sriharikota: India today successfully launched weather observation satellite Cartosat 2 Series and 29 other spacecraft onboard its dependable Polar rocket from here.

The successful orbiting of the satellites by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV C-40 comes four months after the Indian space Research Organisation s mission to launch backup navigation spacecraft IRNSS-1H onboard PSLV-39 ended in a rare failure.

A jubilant ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar announced that the Cartosat 2 Series satellite, the seventh in the series, a nano satellite and 28 commercial payloads were successfully injected into the orbit one by one by the PSLV C-40, in the space of about 17.33 minutes since lift-off.

A micro satellite of India would be orbited after about 90 minutes following the re-ignition of the fourth stage, Kumar said.

International customer satellites are three micro and 25 nano-satellites from six countries — Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Earlier, at the end of the 28-hours countdown, the 44.4 metre tall PSLV-C40 in its 42nd flight, lifted off at 9.29 am and soared into a cloudy sky from the first launch pad.

The opening mission of 2018 was considered crucial for ISRO as the previous PSLV launch came as a setback to scientists as the backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H could not be placed in orbit following a snag in the final leg of the PSLV-C39 mission in August last year.

The heat shield of the rocket did not separate in the final leg of the launch sequence, trapping the satellite in the fourth stage of the rocket.

A visibly relieved Kiran Kumar, on his final mission as the chief of the space agency, said he was happy to provide Cartosat 2 Series as a New Year gift for the country.

“ISRO is starting 2018 with the successful launch… all customer satellites (besides Cartosat and nanosat) released and the microast after one hour. So far Cartosat performance is satisfactory,” he said at the mission control room.

Referring to the previous launch, he said it had heat shield problem and an ISRO committee had addressed it and taken steps to ensure the vehicle was ‘robust’.

The 28 international customer satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between ISRO and its commercial arm ‘Antrix Corporation Ltd’.

Of the total number of satellites carried by PSLV-C40, 30 satellites will be launched into a 505 kms polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Scientists would bring down the height by twice restarting the fourth stage of the PSLV-C40 for launch of Microsat satellite, which will be placed in a 359 kms polar SSO, ISRO said.

The entire launch of satellites is expected to happen over a period of 2 hours and 21 seconds, it said.

According to ISRO, the Cartosat-2 series satellite launch is a follow-on mission with the primary objective of providing high resolution scene specific spot imageries.

It carries panchromatic and multi-spectral cameras operating in Time Delay Integration mode and is capable of delivering high resolution data.

It will be the third satellite in the Cartosat-2 series.

ISRO had successfully launched Cartosat-2 Series satellite on 22 June 2016.

It is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B.

The images sent by Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps and change detection to bring out geographical Land Information Systems and Geographical Information System applications.

ISRO Satellite Centre Director M Annadurai had recently said the launch of 28 satellites from abroad and three Indian satellites during the mission would mark the roll out of the 100th satellite by the space agency.

PTI