PSLV injects 19 satellites into orbit

In one of its longest journeys lasting nearly two hours Indian Space Research Organisation’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C51) successfully placed Amazonia-1, an optical earth observation satellite, from Brazil and 18 other satellites in orbit on Sunday.

It was Isro’s first launch mission in 2021 and the first dedicated mission for its commercial arm New Space India Limited.

“Congratulations to NSIL and @isro on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial launch of PSLVC51/Amazonia-1 Mission. This ushers in a new era of space reforms in the country. 18 co-passengers included four small satellites that showcase dynamism and innovation of our youth,” PM Narendra Modi tweeted. “Congratulations President @jairbolsonaro on the successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by PSLV-C51,” he said in another tweet.

Around 17 minutes after lift-off from Sriharikota’s first launch pad at 10.24am, the rocket injected 637kg Amazonia-1 into a 755km sun synchronous polar orbit. In the next one hour 38 minutes, PSLV injected the remaining18 satellites after it reached a lower orbit, following restart of the rocket’s PS4 or upper stage engine twice.

“In this mission, India and Isro feel very proud, honoured and happy to launch the first satellite designed, integrated and operated by Brazil,” said Isro chairman K Sivan. With this, Isro has launched 342 foreign satellites from 34 countries.

Amazonia-1, an optical earth observation satellite designed, integrated, will provide remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory.

Marcos Cesar Pontes, minister of science, technology and innovation, Brazil, who was at Sriharikota to witness the launch, said, “This is one important step in partnership with India that is going to grow.”

Out of the 18 other satellites, SD SAT built by Space Kidz India and UNITYsat, a combination of three satellites, were launched through INSPACe. The other 14 satellites were launched through NSIL.

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