In the first special mission of the commercial arm of NSIL, ISRO on Sunday successfully launched Brazil Amazonia-1 Earth Observation Satellite and 18 shared passengers, including five students built, on a Polar rocket from the spaceport here.
The satellites were placed into precise orbits one after another after the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 took off at 10:24 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SHAR), in this year’s first mission for the Indian Space Research Organization.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO on the success of the PSLV-C51 / Amazonia-1 special commercial launch mission, saying it ushered in a new era of space reform in the country.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also praised ISRO, whose foreign satellite tally launched rose to 342 with today’s mission.
Accompanying passengers included the Satish Dhawan Satellite (SD-SAT), a nano-satellite from Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI), which was engraved with Modi’s image and also carried the Bhagavad Gita in Secure Digital card format.
According to SKI, Modi’s image has been engraved on the top panel of the spacecraft to show solidarity and gratitude for Aatmanirbhar’s initiatives and space sector reforms.
Of the five students built, SD-SAT was intended to study radiation levels among others, while UNITYsat, a three-in-one satellite by the university, to provide radio relay services and SindhuNetra developed by Bengaluru-based PES University will be used to identify suspicious ship via satellite imagery, officials said.
Amazonia-1, a fully constructed Brazilian satellite with a mission period of four years, is intended to provide remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of agricultural diversification across Brazil.
SKI said that apart from Modi’s photo, his party also sent 25,000 names to SD-SAT.
“Congratulations to NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) and ISRO on the successful launch of the first commercial specifically for the PSLV-C51 / Amazonia-1 Mission. This ushers in a new era of space reform in the country,” tweeted Modi.
The prime minister also congratulated him Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the successful launch of Amazonia-1, and it is said that this is a historic moment in space cooperation between the two countries.
Earlier, at the end of the 25.5 hour countdown, the 44.4 meter high four-stage PSLV, ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle on its 53rd mission, shot into clear skies at the scheduled time of 10:24 a.m. from the first launch pad. here, more than 100 km from Chennai.
“After a flight of about 17 minutes, the vehicle injected the Amazonia-1 into the intended orbit and within the next 1 hour 38 minutes, all 18 shared passenger satellites were successfully separated from the PSLV in the predetermined order,” ISRO said.
Describing it as a special mission for the country, Chairman of ISRO K Sivan the agency said guiding universities in building satellites, adding it would encourage industry and academic institutions to build their own satellites in the future.
Sivan, also secretary, Department of Space, said the mission was also special because the five satellites were under new space reforms announced by the United Government last year.
The center has decided to open the space sector to private companies to carry out space activities such as building rockets, satellites and providing launch services.
Sunday’s mission is also the first special launch by New Space India Limited (NSIL), a PSU established under the Department of Space in 2019, which executes it under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc, a satellite rideshare and mission management provider based in Seattle, USA.
The co-passenger satellites placed in orbit are – four from the ISROs Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) and 14 from NSIL, including 13 from the US.
Brazil’s Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Marcos Pontes, who witnessed the launch here, said this was the beginning of stronger ties between his country and India.
Appreciating ISRO for a successful launch, he said, India and Brazil will be working closely together.
“… I am speaking here on behalf of the Brazilian government. We will work together and we will win together ..”, he said, speaking at the mission control center here.
Sivan said: “Today is an extraordinary day for the entire ISRO team and the PSLV-C51 is a special mission for India. Let me congratulate and praise the ISRO team for achieving the proper injection of AMAZONIA-1 and 18 other satellites,” he said.
“India and ISRO are very proud and honored to launch the first satellite designed, integrated and operated by Brazil. Congratulations to the Brazilian team on this achievement, “he said.
The 637 kg Amazonia-1, which is the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India, is an optical earth observation satellite from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Universities involved in the development of UNITYsat are the Jeppiar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur (JITsat), GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur (GHRCEsat), Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore (Sri Shakthi Sat).
“The university has done an excellent job and ISRO has promoted and helped them ensure that the satellites are built properly and ensure that the satellite is launched properly into orbit. I believe this mission will entice many people across the country to build their satellite,” said Sivan. .
SD-SAT is intended to study radiation levels, space weather, and demonstrate long-range communications technology.
Sunday’s launch also marks The 78th mission from Sriharikota and with this, the number of foreign satellites launched by ISRO increased to 342 out of 34 countries.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, strict norms are enforced at launch centers and gathering of media personnel is not permitted as long as public galleries remain closed.
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