ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C20, successfully launched the joint Indo-French Satellite, SARAL, today (February 25, 2013) in its twenty third flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. Six other satellites, namely, UNIBRITE (NLS 8.1) and BRITE (NLS 8.2) from Austria, SAPPHIRE and NEOSSAT from Canada, AAUSAT-3 (NLS 8.3) from Denmark; and STRaND-1 from the United Kingdom, have also been launched into their planned orbits along with SARAL.
Honourable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee along with the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Shri E. S. L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office), Shri V Narayanasamy and other dignitaries from the Government of Andhra Pradesh witnessed the launch from the state-of-the-art Mission Control Centre of SDSC. Honourable President, in his post launch remarks, congratulated the scientists and engineers of ISRO for the successful launch.
At the completion of the countdown, PSLV-C20 lifted off from the First Launch Pad at SDSC SHAR, at 1801 hrs (IST) with the ignition of the first stage of the launch vehicle. The important flight events, namely, stage ignitions, heat-shield separation, stage separations and satellite injections took place exactly as planned.
After a flight of 17 minutes 55 seconds, the main payload, SARAL, weighing 407 kg was injected to an orbit very close to the intended orbit. Following this, the six auxiliary satellites were also successfully injected.
This has been the twenty second successive successful launch of ISRO's workhorse launch vehicle PSLV. Since its first successful launch in 1994, PSLV has launched 27 Indian satellites and 35 satellites for customers from abroad, including the satellites launched today. It has also launched India's geosynchronous satellites, Kalpana-1 and GSAT-12, thereby proving its versatility. PSLV also launched India's first spacecraft mission to moon, Chandrayaan-1, in 2008. It is scheduled to launch India's first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, by the end of this year.
Satellite with Argos and Altika (SARAL) is an oceanographic satellite jointly developed by ISRO and the French Space Agency CNES. The satellite is built by ISRO, whereas CNES contributed the ARGOS and ALTIKA payloads. Data from SARAL will be useful for researchers besides having many practical applications like marine meteorology and sea state forecasting, climate monitoring, continental ice studies, environmental monitoring, protection of biodiversity and improvement in maritime security.
ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore took over the SARAL's monitoring and control operations immediately after its injection. Following the automatic deployment of SARAL's solar panels, shortly after reaching orbit, all the subsequent operations are proceeding normally.