Bangalore: India entered the global launcher market with ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C8 successfully placing the 352-kg Italian astronomical satellite AGILE into a 550 km circular orbit around 22 minutes after lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here on 23 April 2007.
After a perfect blast-off, jubilant scientists broke into celebration as the PSLV, in its 11th flight, released the satellite into the orbit at around 3.52 pm, marking India’s first fully commercial launch.
The Italian Space Agency will pay $11 million (Rs45 crore) to Isro for the launch.
This is PSLV’s 10th successful launch since 1994.
“It’s a 100% succes to the entire ISRO community. We have made a good entry into the launch business and hope we will have more opportunities in the near future,” a beaming ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said.
Giovanni Bignami, President, Italian Space Agency, said “It is an intense and emotional moment. It is a performance better than expected and an even more successful mission. I think you (Isro) have now made a very important score for India’s launch into space market,” he added.
India becomes the fifth country after United States, Russia, China and Ariane Space (France) to enter the launch market.
The PSLV-C8 also carried ISRO’s 185-kg Advaced Avionics Module (AMM), an important payload to flight-test advanced avionics such as mission computers, navigation and telemetry systems for use in future launch vehicles of ISRO.
A Dual Launch Adapter (DLA) was employed and the AGILE was mounted on top of the DLA while the AMM was mounted inside it.
AGILE is the seventh foreign satellite launched by the ISRO’s workhorse launch vehicle. However, today’s launch holds significance for India as it is ISRO’s first “commercial” launch.
The marketing for getting this project was done by Antrix Corporation, commercial arm of the Department of Space, Government of India.
The AGILE is a X-ray and gamma ray astronomical satellite of the Italian Space Agency. It is equipped with scientific instruments capable of imaging distant celestial objects in X-ray and Gamma ray regions of th electromagnetic spectrum.