The Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 on Sunday, February 28, successfully launched a Brazilian satellite called Amazonia-1 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) at around 10.24 am after the end of a nearly 26-hour countdown. Besides, the PSLV-C51 also carried 18 other satellites from Sriharikota, including Satish Dhawan Sat (SD SAT) from Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI).
PSLV-C51/ Amazonia-1 mission is the first dedicated PSLV commercial mission for NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), a government company under the Department of Space. The NSIL is undertaking this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc, USA.
The 18 co-passenger satellites are--Four from ISRO's Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and 14 from NSIL. Among the four IN-SPACe satellites are-three UNITYsats from a consortium of three Indian academic institutes and one is SDSAT built by SKI.
Soon after the launch, the Amsazonia-1 successfully seperated from PSLV-C51 and injected into orbit.
A photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been inscribed on the top panel of the spacecraft. "This is to show solidarity and gratitude for his (PM's) Aatmanirbhar initiative and space privatisation," said SKI. The names of ISRO chairperson Dr K Sivan and scientific secretary DR. R Umamaheswaran have also been engraved on the bottom panel.
A digital copy of 'Bhagavad Gita' is also being sent with the spacecraft. It is being placed in an SD (secured digital) card.
The 637-kg Amazonia-1 which became the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India is an optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research. It is powered by lithium-ion batteries and two solar arrays. It has an 850km swath and 60m resolution.
Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI) satellite, called SDSAT is a nanosatellite intended to study the radiation levels and space weather and demonstrate long-range communication technologies.
It is a combination of three satellites designed and built by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, GH Raisoni College of Engineering, and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology. The satellite is intended to provide radio relay services.
A satellite called 'Anand', built by another Indian startup, Pixxel is also part of the launch. It will be used to detect forest fires early on, oil and gas leaks, crop disease on time, and water pollution levels.
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