The Indian Space Reasearch Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C23, was launched today, 30 June, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The vehicle lifted off at 09:52 hrs IST. The previous schedule for the launch was 26 June, but when Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his desire to witness the event from the space centre, it was delayed by 4 days to facilitate his attendance.
PSLV-C23 is carrying the 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7 as the main payload. The 14 kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) & NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg, and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore are being carried as co-passengers. These five satellites have been launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX has entered with the respective foreign agencies.
All the 5 satellites have been integrated with PSLV-C23. The Mission Readiness Review (MRR) Committee and the Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) had met on 27 June to review the progress of prelaunch activities. After the clearance from LAB, the 49 hour countdown for the mission commenced at 08:49 hrs IST on 28 June.
At about 10 am today, the rocket was at its coasting phase with it thursters off. It was cruising at around 300 km/h.
At 10:12 am, SPOT-7 separated as was planned. In a minute, other four satellites namely AISAT, NLS 7.1, NLS 7.2 and VELOX-1 separated as planned, too.
Modi had on Sunday visited the First Launch Pad at Sriharikota where he was briefed about the PSLV C-23 Launch Vehicle Mission by senior scientists. The Prime Minister also visited the GSLV-Mk III Vehicle Assembly Building and was briefed there by senior scientists, a PMO release said. In his first official visit to this spaceport, Modi asked the space community to develop a SAARC satelite even as he heaped praise on Indian space scientists, recalling their contributions from the early days. He referred to pictures showing rocket components being transported on bicycles. A visibly elated Modi, who said it was a ‘privilege’ to witness the event, congratulated “our brilliant space scientists for a successful launch… This fills every Indian’s heart with pride and I can see the joy reflected on your face,” he said from the Mission Control Room, adding today’s successful launch of foreign satellites was a “global endorsement of India’s space capbility”.
“I have heard about the movie Gravity…the cost of sending the Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested to make the movie,” said Modi after the successful launch of the rocket.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh were also present. Earlier, K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO, gave a brief presentation to the PM on India’s space programme, in the presence of senior scientists.