India has successfully deployed the country’s EMISAT recognisance satellite aboard a PSLV-QL rocket. In addition to the mission’s primary payload, an additional 28 smaller payloads were deployed for customers from around the world.
The PSLV-QL rocket launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 03:57 UTC (09:57 local time) this morning. Approximately 17 minutes after liftoff, the EMISAT spy satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage into its intended sun-synchronous polar orbit. Following the orbital insertion of the primary payload, the rocket’s upper stage made two short burns to deploy the 28 additional payloads into their designated sun-synchronous orbits. The final secondary payload was deployed 1 hour and 55 minutes into the mission.
The secondary payloads deployed were for customers from the United States, Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and India. The payloads included 20 Doves (small Earth imaging satellites) for Planet Labs and four Lemur-2 (small Earth observation and traffic monitoring satellites) for Spire Global.
Around 60 minutes after the final secondary payload was deployed, the rocket’s upper stage was moved into a lower circular orbit at an altitude of 485 kilometres. According to an ISRO press release, the stage will now act as an orbital platform for experiments utilising three integrated payloads.
The payloads aboard the PSLV orbiting platform have been identified as an Automatic Packet Repeating System (developed by AMSAT), an Automatic Identification System (developed by ISRO) and an Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for ionospheric studies (developed by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology).
This morning’s launch was the first of three PSLV missions scheduled to be launched this month. The exact dates for the additional two launches have not yet been confirmed.