The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the country's Polar rocket PSLV C-51 carrying Amazonia-1 of Brazil and 18 other satellites from the Sriharikota spaceport on February 28, in its first mission of the year.
The blastoff took place at 10:24 am from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, at the end of a nearly 26-hour countdown.
After a flight of about 17 minutes 23 seconds, the vehicle injected the Amazonia-1 into its intended orbit and in the succeeding 1 hour 38 minutes, all the 18 co-passenger satellites successfully separated from the PSLV in a predetermined sequence.
"In this mission, India and ISRO, feel extremely proud to launch the first satellite designed, integrated by Brazil. The satellite is in very good health. I congratulate the Brazilian team," said ISRO Chief K Sivan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to Twitter to congratulate ISTO and New Space India Limited (NSIL) on the success of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission. "Congratulations to NSIL and ISRO on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial launch of PSLV-C51/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," he tweeted.
The prime minister further congratulated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on the successful launch of the Amazonia-1 satellite. "Congratulations President Jair Bolsonaro on the successful launch of Brazil's Amazonia-1 satellite by PSLV-C51. This is a historic moment in our space cooperation and my felicitations to the scientists of Brazil," he said.
In view of the strict COVID-19 pandemic norms in place at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota, gathering of media personnel was not planned there and the launch viewing gallery was closed. However, the live telecast of the launch was available on the ISRO website, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
PSLV-C51 rocket, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), launched Amazonia-1 of Brazil as primary satellite and 18 co-passenger payloads from the first launch pad of the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district, about 100 kms from Chennai. These co-passenger satellites include Satish Dhawan Sat (SD SAT) from Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI).
The 18 co-passenger satellites are as follows: four from ISRO's Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre(three UNITYsats from consortium of three Indian academic institutes and the SD SAT from SKI) and 14 from NSIL. SKI will also be sending 25,000 names onboard SD SAT.
On the top panel of this spacecraft, a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been engraved. "This is to show solidarity and gratitude for his (PM's) Aatmanirbhar initiative and space privatisation", said SKI, which is also sending up "Bhagvad Gita" in SD (secured digital) card.
It's also a big day for Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO's commercial arm NSIL. PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NSIL, which is undertaking it under a commercial arrangement with Seattle, US-based satellite rideshare and mission management provider, Spaceflight Inc.
The 637-kg Amazonia-1, which will be the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India, is the optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).