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Isro PSLV-C53 launch announced for June 30

Isro PSLV-C53 launch announced for June 30
23 Jun, 2022
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The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has finally announced the launch date of its C53 mission for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The mission faced multiple initial delays, but was eventually slated for launch this year following the launch of the PSLV-C52 mission in February this year.

The mission will carry a payload of three satellites from Singapore, including an Earth Observation satellite. Both the EO satellite and the NeuSAR synthetic aperture radar satellites will contribute to satellite imagery tasks, for tertiary clients of Isro’s.

The mission is also the second dedicated commercial space mission for India, contracted by the newly appointed public sector undertaking organisation, New Space India Limited (NSIL). The latter is tipped to bring commercial contracts for Isro going forward, and work alongside IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) to help private sector organisations work alongside India’s central space agency.

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The PSLV-C53 mission will also carry in-orbit experiments to orbit with the mission’s fourth stage. The latter, which typically burns in orbit and disintegrates, will be deployed in orbit as a Polar Orbital Experimental Module (Poem) — and carry out scientific experiments for the first time.

The final stage will use its own navigation command to maintain orbital altitude. It will also carry six additional payloads, including two from Indian private startups — Digantara and Dhruva Space. The latter two were facilitated by IN-SPACe.

This, though, is not the first time that Isro is using its fourth stage as an Earth orbital platform. Isro’s 2019 PSLV-C44 mission, launched in January 2019, became the first mission in the world to deploy a reusable final stage of a space mission. Taking this further, PSLV-C53 will now use the orbital platform to conduct experiments in space as well.

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The C53 mission marks the launch of three satellites out of a planned five that Isro had targeted to launch by May this year. S Somanath, chief of India’s central space agency, said at the launch of the PSLV-C52 mission earlier this year that the agency plans to launch five satellites within three months.

Somanath had also said that through 2022, Isro plans to launch a total of 19 space missions — of which the C53 mission would be one.