Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), April 20 (IANS): In a boost to India's remote sensing capability, the PSLV C-16 rocket on Wednesday launched Resourcesat-2 and two other satellites from the spaceport here.
On a bright morning at 10.12 am, the Indian Space Research Organisation's Rs 90-crore rocket - the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-16 - soared towards the heavens to place in orbit Resourcesat-2 and two other satellites, together weighing 1,404 kg.
Apart from its main cargo - advanced earth observation satellite Resourcesat-2 - the rocket also carried two mini satellites - the 92-kg joint India-Russian Youthsat satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies and the 106-kg X-sat for imaging applications built by the Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University.
Just over 18 minutes after the blast-off, the rocket ejected Resourcesat-2 and followed it up with the other two. Sriharikota is 80 km north of Tamil Nadu capital Chennai.
Immediately after the ejections, ISRO with its network of ground stations monitored the health of the three satellites.
"I am extremely happy to announce the Resourcesat mission is a success. We are extremely grateful to the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) for all his encouragement," ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.
V Narayansamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said, "Heartiest congratulations to the entire Department of Space. The scientists have proved their expertise in launching the PSLV rocket."
Built to last for five years, the Rs 140-crore Resourcesat-2 will augment ISRO's remote sensing data services. It will replace Resourcesat-1 sent up in 2003. Resourcesat-2 was originally scheduled for a January launch but got postponed to February and then to April.
Apart from carrying three sophisticated cameras, the satellite also carries additional equipment called AIS (Automatic Information System) from COMDEV, Canada, for the surveillance of ships in the VHF band to derive their position and speed, among others.
"With the launch of Resourcesat-2, ISRO will have 10 remote sensing satellites in orbit- Resourcesat 1, TES, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS-1, RISAT-2, Oceansat-2," S. Satish, ISRO's director (Publications and Public Relations), told IANS.
With the largest civilian remote sensing satellite constellation in the world, India is a global leader earning a sizeable amount vending imageries in a variety of spatial resolutions, spectral bands and swaths.
The data is used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, drought and flood forecasting, ocean resource management and disaster management.
According to ISRO officials, the other remote sensing satellites that are slated for launch this year are Megha-Tropiques, Radar Imaging Satellite-1 (RISAT-1) and Saral.
Slated for launch this July, the Megha-Tropiques satellite will study and understand the lifecycle of convective systems and their role in the associated energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in the tropical regions.
PSLV is a four-stage rocket alternatively powered by solid and liquid propellants. The first and third stage engines are fired by solid propellants and the second and fourth stages are fired by liquid fuel.
By June, ISRO will launch two communication satellites - GSAT-8 from French Guyana and GSAT-12 from India. These will serve the needs of the telecommunication and television sectors.