Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch its most-reliable workhorse the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying Indian Radar imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1 at 3:25 PM on Wednesday (December 11) from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. The countdown for the launch of PSLVC48 started at 4:40 PM on Tuesday (December 10).
The PSLV, which is the third generation launch vehicle of India, is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages. The primary payload of this rocket will be RISAT-2BR1 weighing about 628 kg, which will be placed into a 576 km orbit. According to Bengaluru-based ISRO, the RISAT -2BR1 would be used for agriculture, forestry and disaster management.
Besides launching RISAT -2BR1, ISRO will also launch nine foreign satellites as co-passengers of the Indian satellite. The customer satellites include six US satellites, besides one each from Israel, Italy and Japan. Besides being the 50th launch of the PSLV, Wednesday’s launch would mark several milestones for the ISRO- the second flight of PSLV in ‘QL’ configuration (with 4 strap-on motors). This will be the 75th launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota and 37th launch from the First Launchpad.
The RISAT-2BR1 is the second satellite in the RISAT-2B series and the launch of this satellite will boost the capability of Indian security agencies to carry out the surveillance of earth from the space.
The first satellite in the RISAT-2B series was launched by ISRO on May 22, 2019 to replace the ageing RISAT-2. Sources said that after the launch of RISAT-2BR1 on Wednesday, ISRO is planning to launch another satellite of the RISAT-2B series in December 2019.
The PSLV is a four-stage rocket with the first stage and third stage using solid-propellant rocket motors, whereas the second a fourth stage use liquid-propellant rocket motors. It is considered to be the most reliable launch vehicle of ISRO as it has flown 47 of its 49 missions successfully. The only failures of missions involving the PSLV rocket occurred in 1993 (first launch) and 2017 (41st launch).