India launched 14 satellites Wednesday morning, boosting the morale of its space agency which lost contact with a spacecraft to trying to land on the moon in September.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C47 (PSLV-C47) placed in orbit India's earth observation satellite Cartosat-3 and 13 nano-satellites for the US when it blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro's) Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9:28am.
Seventeen minutes after lift-off, Cartosat-3 separated from the launch vehicle and put into orbit. The 13 US satellites will be launched in the next eight minutes, completing the first business order of Isro's newly formed commercial arm NewSpace India Ltd.
Cartosat-3, India’s third-generation earth observation satellite, will be used for large-scale urban planning and to monitor coastal land, rural resources and infrastructure development. The satellite, which will last for five years and weighs 1,625kg, can pick a 25-cm object from its orbital perch about 509 km away, making it one of the sharpest earth-imagers.
Twelve US nano-satellites called FLOCK-4P will be used for earth observation and another called MESHBED is a communication test bed.
Isro lost contact with Chandrayaan-2 on September 7 when it was trying to land on the moon, scuttling the agency’s ambitious plans to become the first country to probe the unexplored lunar south pole.
The lander of the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission was attempting a “soft,” or controlled, landing near the south pole of the moon where scientists believe there could be water ice. Communication was lost just as it was about to touch down.
India operates one of the largest constellations of space-based imaging satellites. The last of the Cartosat-2 Series satellite weighed 710 kg and it was launched by PSLV-C40 last January 2018. With the American business order in place, the PSLV rocket has put 310 launched foreign satellites till date.
Watch Live: Launch of Cartosat-3 and 13 USA’s Nanosatellite by PSLV-C47 https://t.co/wvdBy25uCG— ISRO (@isro) November 27, 2019