Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): When India’s first navigation satellite was successfully placed in orbit, an individual at the launch centre said this seemed to be the first time in the history of the Indian space agency that a mission literally took two days – Monday and Tuesday!
Exactly at 11.41 p.m. Monday, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C22 (PSLV-C22), standing around 44 metres and weighing around 320 tonnes, roared off. Twenty minutes into the flight, at 12.01 a.m Tuesday, the rocket ejected IRNSS-1A – the first of the seven satellites planned under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
The rocket blasted off Monday and the satellite was ejected Tuesday, a reporter present at the media centre commented in a lighter vein.
Though the rocket was meant to be very fast, “this was the first time in ISRO’s history that a mission was spread over two days”, he said.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan said that with the successful launch of the satellite, India had entered “a new era of space applications”.
The IRNSS-1A satellite is intended to provide terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services and help in disaster and fleet management.
The system is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia (24 satellites), Galileo of Europe (27 satellites), China’s Beidou (35 satellites) or the Japanese Quasi Zenith Satellite System with three satellites.