ISRO Launches Country’s 42nd Communications Satellite

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced that its PSLV-C50 rocket has successfully placed communication satellite CMS-01 into orbit. ISRO successfully launched its 42nd communication satellite CMS-01 on 17 December 2020. It lifted off into the cloudy skies from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Initially scheduled to launch on 8 December and again to 14 December, it was pushed back due to bad weather and the possibility of hurricanes. This is the second ISRO launch taking place amid the Coronavirus pandemic. First launch was of EOS-01 which is an earth observation satellite that will provide agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

Specifications of the PSLV-C50 CMS-01 mission-

  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is ISRO’s workhorse rocket.
  • Its the 42nd communications satellite.
  • It will provide telecom services in the Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum.
  • Extended-C Band coverage will include Indian mainland, Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands.
  • The expected mission life of this spacecraft is supposed to be seven years or more.
  • PSLV is 44-metre-high and has four stages with six strap-on booster motors.
  • This will be the 22nd flight of the PSLV rocket in the ‘XL’ configuration, and the 52nd PSLV flight.
  • This was the 77th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

PSLV-C50 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad of SDSC SHAR at 15:41 hours (IST). After a flight of about 20 minutes 12 seconds, the vehicle injected the satellite into its intended orbit as planned. After injection, the solar panels of CMS-01 were automatically deployed and ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan has assumed the control of the satellite. In the coming days, orbit raising manoeuvres will be executed to position the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit at its designated location. The satellite will be handed over to the users for communication services after completion of the payload In-orbit testing in the first week of January 2021.

ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan appreciated the tireless efforts of both the satellite and launch vehicle teams in realising this mission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Talking about the upcoming PSLV-C51 mission, Dr K Sivan said “The mission will be fruition of the space reforms recently introduced in the country.” Further he added that the mission will carry three satellites built by private entities.

About the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle :-

  • PSLV is the third generation launch vehicle of India.
  • First successful launch was in October 1994.
  • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
  • During 1994-2017 period, the vehicle had launched 48 Indian satellites and 209 from abroad.
  • It successfully launched two spacecrafts – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later travelled to Moon and Mars respectively.

This specific mission is aimed at communication satellites which come under The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system which is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit. It was established in 1983.