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ISRO to Launch 5 UK Satellites into Orbit, Biggest Commercial Launch in its History

by ChanduJuly 4, 2015

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday announced the launch date for its heaviest commercial mission in the history of ISRO and commercial arm Antrix. The PSLV-C28/DMC3 mission has been scheduled for launch on July 10 with the heaviest ever payload (1,440kg) ever for a commercial launch.

PSLV-C28 will launch the UK’s three identical optical earth observation satellites (DMC3) built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), each weighing 447kg.

It will also carry a micro and a nano satellite, both for the UK. Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will be using the high-end XL version of PSLV for the ninth time.

ISRO UK Satellite

“India has established itself as an efficient commercial launch pad for foreign satellites. This is the heaviest payload for a commercial launch. A successful PSLV-C28 launch would give a big boost to Isro’s commercial launch capabilities,” said Isro spokesman Deviprasad Karnik.

Isro’s previous ‘heavy’ commercial payload was SPOT-7, a French satellite weighing 712kg that a PSLV put in orbit on June 30, 2014.

The three DMC3 satellites, each weighing 447kg, will be launched into a 647km sun-synchronous orbit. Riding piggyback on them would be two auxiliary satellites from the UK, CBNT-1, a 9kg technology demonstrator earth observation micro satellite built by SSTL, and De-OrbitSail, a 7kg technology demonstrator nano satellite built by Surrey Space Centre.

“With the overall lift-off mass of the five satellites amounting to about 1440kg, this mission becomes the heaviest commercial mission ever undertaken by Antrix/Isro,” the organization said.

Isro said on its website that accommodating the three DMC3 satellites each with a height of about 3 metre within the existing payload fairing of PSLV was a challenge.

To mount these satellites onto the launcher, a circular launcher adaptor called as L-adaptor and a triangular deck called multiple satellite adapter-version 2 (MSA-V2), were designed and realised by Isro for this specific purpose.

Launched into a single Low-Earth Orbit plane and phased with a separation of 120° between them, the DMC3 satellites can image any target on the Earth’s surface every day.

Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring of disasters.

These international customer satellites are being launched as part of the arrangement entered into between DMC International Imaging (DMCii), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSTL, UK; and Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a Government of India Company under Department of Space.

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