On Sunday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the success of the first dedicated commercial launch of Amazonia-1 Mission. He added that it ushers in a “new era of space reforms”.
Posting on Twitter, he said, “Congratulations to NSIL and ISRO on the success of the first dedicated commercial launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission. This usher in a new era of space reforms in the country. Eighteen co-passengers included four small satellites that showcase the dynamism and innovation of our youth.”
The Prime Minister’s message follows the successful placement of 19 satellites — including the primary passenger Brazil’s earth observation satellite Amazonia-1 — into orbit. The multiple satellite launch mission that lasted just under two hours was still one of the longest for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Moreover, a nanosatellite, which is a part of the launch, carries a copy of the Bhagavad Gita on an SD card and a photograph of PM Modi.
A 44.4-metre tall PSLV-C51 rocket blasted off from the first launch pad in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota laden with 14 foreign and five Indian satellites. With this successful mission, India has slung 342 foreign satellites into orbit, all for a fee. The 18 co-passenger satellites onboard PSLV-C51 includes four from IN-SPACe and fourteen from NSIL. Out of four satellites from IN-SPACe, three were UNITYsats designed and built as a joint development by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbadur, GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur and Sri Shakti Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore (Sri Shakthi Sat) and one was Satish Dhawan Sat (SDSAT) from Space Kidz India. The names of ISRO chairman K Sivan and Scientific Secretary Umamaheshwaran are etched on the bottom panel of SDSAT.
NewSpace India Limited is ISRO’s commercial arm that is keeping its eye set on the global launch market. According to reports, the company has been offering very competitive prices comparable with Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Sources point out that the Public Sector Undertaking has already inked a pact with a Southeast Asian company to launch three earth-imaging satellites.