PSLV places three satellites in orbit


The Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully conducted the sixth flight of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C3, launching three satellites - Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) of ISRO, BIRD of Germany and PROBA of Belgium.

As all other Indian satellite launch vehicles, PSLV-C3 was launched from Sriharikota Range (SHAR) on the east coast of India.

This is the second time that PSLV is launching three satellites simultaneously. In the previous launch in May 1999, PSLV had launched Indian IRS-P4, German DLR-TUBSAT and Korean KITSAT-3. While TES and BIRD will be placed in a 568 km sun-synchronous orbit, the third satellite, PROBA, will be placed in an elliptical orbit of 568 x 638 km, which will be achieved by firing the Reaction Control Thrusters of the fourth stage of PSLV-C3.

In its present configuration, the 44.4 metre tall, 294 tonne PSLV has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately.

The TES, weighing 1108 kg, is an experimental satellite to demonstrate and validate, in orbit, technologies that could be used in the future satellites of ISRO. Some of the technologies that are planned to be demonstrated in TES are altitude and orbit control system, high torque reaction wheels, new reaction control system with optimised thrusters and a single propellant tank, light weight spacecraft structure, solid state recorder, X-band phased array antenna, improved satellite positioning system, miniaturised TTC and power system and, two-mirror-on-axis camera optics. TES will also carry a panchromatic camera for remote sensing experiments.

PROBA of Verhaert, Belgium, is a small satellite weighing 94 kg. The payloads in the satellite include high resolution camera with 115 mm diameter aperture and wide angle camera having aperture of 60 mm.

BIRD of the German Space agency, DLR, is a small satellite weighing 92 kg, intended for testing small satellite technologies and a new generation of infrared sensors for the detection of hot spots like forest fires and volcanoes from space.

Pictures and information courtesy ISRO.


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