The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday launched its 37th Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV, from its Sriharikota base at 9.12 am. This was the PSLV's longest mission – it is spread over two hours and 15 minutes – and also its most complex as it successfully placed eight satellites into two different orbits.
Of the eight satellites, three each are from India and Algeria, and the remaining are from Canada and the United States. The main load, however, is the 371-kg Indian weather satellite SCATSAT-1, which is meant for ocean- and weather-related studies. It was placed into a 730-km polar sun synchronous orbit at exactly 17 minutes into the launch, The Indian Express reported.
At this mission, Isro tested the PSLV's multiple burn capability, which involves switching off and switching the rocket's engines at a particular stage. According to Dr K Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, this system will "open up new vistas to commercialise Isro's launch capabilities for two-orbit configurations", NDTV reported. Isro Chairman Dr AS Kiran Kumar said, "This is a challenging two-in-one mission that puts India in a unique league of nations having the capability to achieve two different orbits in a single mission."