satish dhawan

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India sets new world record, launching 104 satellites at once.

Creating a new world record in the process, India successfully kicked off their 217 launch calendar February 14 by launching a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle with 104 satellites. The rocket launched at 10:58pm EST from the Satish Dhawan Space Center.

Lofted into a sun-synchronous orbit by the rocket’s fourth stage, 101 cubesats accompanied three larger satellites on the mission. CartoSat-2D is the fourth in a series of high-resolution Earth-imaging satellites domestically designed by India. Less than ten seconds after CartoSat-2D was deployed, the INA-1A and 1B satellites were released. These two satellites are technology demonstrators for a new, smaller satellite bus that India hopes can attract universities and small businesses for space-based payloads.

Of the 101 cubesats deployed, 88 belonged to the Planet company, which - when combined with 100 identical satellites already in polar orbit- will photograph the entire surface of the Earth every day. Eight other cubesats belonged to Spire Global, and will measure atmospheric conditions and global shipping traffic. The remaining five are scientific and communication technology demonstrators

ISRO - the Indian Space Research organization - released a stunning video of the PSLV launch, the first time footage from onboard rocket cameras have been released. Key events in the rocket’s ascent can be seen, including the jettisoning of its six strap-on solid rocket motors, separation of its second and third stages, and jettisoning of the payload fairing. 

P/C: ISRO

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More images of India’s first indigenous space shuttle. The Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator was launched at 7am IST Monday, May 23, from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

The 21.3-foot long, 1.75-ton RLV-TD was used on the HEX-1 flight, which tested hypersonic reentry profiles for reusable, winged spacecraft. Seeing its first use since the late 1980′s, the first stage of India’s first-ever rocket, the SLV-3, was used to boost the vehicle to an altitude of 65 kilometers.

Total mission elapsed time from launch to landing was 12 minutes, and the RLV-TD achieved a maximum speed of around Mach 5.

Check out our introductory story on the RLV-TD/HEX-1 mission here.

Launch photos and story can be seen here!

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India, rising - Heavy-lift GSLV Mk III flight a success.

India’s GSLV Mk III rocket lifts off on its maiden voyage December 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM EST (9:30AM Indian Standard Time).

The flight was a complete success, testing the new rocket’s flight profile, avionics systems and booster technology. 

Two S200 solid fuel motors propelled the vehicle off the launch pad, followed by the liquid fuelled L110 core stage. The rocket will eventually boast a cryogenic third stage which will place payloads in their desired orbits.

Thursday’s launch marked a major milestone in India’s goal to domestically launch heavy payloads that have previously required the use of Europe’s Ariane V rocket. 

“India, you have a new launch vehicle,” said S. Somanath, ISRO’s project director for the GSLV Mk. 3 rocket. “The payload capabilities of our current launch vehicles have been significantly enhanced through the development of this launch vehicle.”

Additionally, the flight also gathered important data on the reentry, recovery and flight characteristics of India’s proposed crew spacecraft. The CARE module - a testbed space capsule short for Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment - landed on target in the Bay of Bengal 20 minutes after liftoff.

“This was a very significant day in the history of the Indian space program,” said K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of ISRO. 

The CARE module was the same size and weight as India’s proposed crew spacecraft. However, the Indian government has not formally committed to a manned space project. Instead, funding has been granted for researching different vehicle designs and technologies for a future crew vehicle.

The launch occured from Pad 2 at the Satish Dhawan space center near Sriharikota, India.

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India kicked off their 2016 launch campaign by orbiting their IRNSS-1E satellite early this morning (January 20). It is the fifth in a constellation of seven satellites comprising the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, India’s domestic navigation network.

Liftoff occurred at 9:31 am India Standard Time ( 11:01pm EST January 19) from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Center. It was the 32nd launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, and the 11th in its XL configuration, which sports longer strap-on solid rocket boosters.

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India launches fourth domestic navigation satellite.

A PSLV-XL launch vehicle successfully deployed India’s fourth domestic navigation satellite Saturday afternoon, 28 March, at 5:19 PM India Standard Time (7:49 EM EDT). The IRNSS-ID satellite is part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, a series of seven satellites the country will eventually rely on for navigational data. Currently, India relies on foreign navigation constellations.

Launch occurred from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan space center near Sriharikota.

The 144 foot tall rocket is the strongest version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - one of two rockets in India’s fleet. PSLV, as its name implies, specializes in polar-orbiting missions, while the GSLV specializes in Geostationary transfer orbit.

The PSLV-XL has been flown eight times previously including India’s two deep-space missions, the Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission in 2008 and the Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013.

Nineteen minutes after launch, the IRNSS-ID satellite separated from the fourth stage of the rocket, completing the mission. Controllers on the ground will perform a series of tests over the next month before the satellite becomes operational.

IRNSS will provide two types of services; Standard Positioning Services (SPS) - provided to all users - and Restricted Services (RS), provided to authorized users. The constellation is expected to be completed by 2016.

This was the second launch of navigational satellites in a 24 hour period, the first being the 7th and 8th satellites in Europe’s Galileo constellation. That launch occurred from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana at 5:46 PM EDT Friday.


Watch a replay of the launch here.


Check out our ISRO launch archive here.

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India launched the IRNSS-1F navigational satellite earlier this morning (March 10) at 5:31 am EST (4:01pm IST). IRNSS-1F is the sixth navigation satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organization, which aims to end reliance of foreign GPS satellites through the IRNSS constellation.

PSLV-C32 lofted the satellite directly into Geostationary Transfer Orbit 20 minutes after liftoff from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Center. The flight was delayed by a minute in order to avoid orbital debris which ISRO detected during the countdown.

The IRNSS series first arrived in orbit July, 2013 with the launch of IRNSS-1A, with the most recent flight, IRNSS-1E, launching January 2016. One more satellite, IRNSS-1G, is slated to launch in April, completing the series.

PSLV-C32 was the 33rd launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, and the 12th in its XL configuration, which sports longer strap-on solid rocket boosters.