With Modi's Photo & Bhagavad Gita, ISRO Launches 19 Satellites in First Lift-off of 2021

News18
·3-min read

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in its first mission of 2021, has successfully launched the Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 on Sunday from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. “#PSLVC51 lifts off successfully from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota,” ISRO said in a Tweet.

The countdown commenced at 08.54 hours on Saturday.

Subject to weather conditions, the blastoff for the PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 mission was scheduled at 10.24 am today. 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).

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According to earlier updates posted by ISRO, the filling of the oxidizer for the second stage (PS2) had been completed.

The 637-kg Amazonia-1, which is the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India, is the optical earth observation satellite of National Institute for Space Research (INPE). “This satellite would further strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory,” an ISRO statement had said.

A picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been engraved on the top panel of this spacecraft to show “solidarity and gratitude for his (PM’s) Aatmanirbhar initiative and space privatisation”, said SKI, which is also sending up “Bhagavad Gita” in SD (secured digital) card.

The 18 co-passenger satellites are: 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.

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In view of the strict COVID-19 pandemic norms in place at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota, gathering of media personnel is not planned there and the launch viewing gallery is closed.

However, the live telecast of the launch is available on ISRO website, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter channels.

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It’s also a big day for Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO’s commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (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.

SKI is also sending 25,000 names on board SD SAT. “When we finalised the mission, we had asked people to send the names that will be sent to space”, an SKI official said.

(With PTI inputs)