India: India is set to take another giant leap in space through its PSLV C34 rocket. The launch vehicle will blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Srikarikota in May, injecting 22 satellites into orbit. The satellite launch will be the first of its kind in the history of ISRO.
The launch vehicle will carry the Cartosat 2C, Indian remote sensing satellite as its primary payload along with four micro-satellites weighing 85 to 130 kg each and 17 nano-satellites weighing 4 to 30 kg. Besides this, the rocket will carry as many as 18 satellites for foreign agencies including those from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Indonesia.
Two of the nano-satellites have been developed by the Pune Engineering College and Sathyabhama University. “The PSLV rocket, in its XL version, will be used for the mission,” VSSC Director K. Sivan said here on Monday. “The injection of so many satellites into orbit increases the complexity of the mission many fold,” he told reporters.
The micro-satellites include the M3MSAT of Comdev, Canada, to be used for collection and study of automatic identification system signals from low earth orbit, the Indonesian satellite LAPAN A3 for earth surveillance and magnetic field monitoring, the German satellite BIROS to be used for remote sensing of high temperature events and SKYSAT Gen2-1 of Skybox, U.S., for earth imaging.
The nano-satellite payload includes three quadpacks of four earth imaging technology demonstrator satellites each of Spaceflight, U.S., and a package of two Canadian satellites designed to measure greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The first test flight of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) developed by ISRO is also scheduled for May. If succeeded, the technology will drive down the cost of placing satellites in orbit. RLV is expected to enhance India’s competitive edge in the launch vehicle market. “It will be transported to Bengaluru next week for acoustic tests before being taken to SHAR for the launch in May when atmospheric conditions are most favourable,” Dr. Sivan said.