The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has launched Microsat-R satellite into orbit.
- It is a military imaging satellite built by various laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
- It weighs 130Kg.
- The satellite is placed in a polar orbit at a distance of 274km which is much lower than the traditional polar orbit between 400km and 700km.
- The satellite was launched by PSLV-C44.
Highlights of PSLV-C44:
- PSLV-C44 is a four-stage vehicle.
- The fourth stage (PS-4) of this launch vehicle was a technology demonstrator and was named as PSLV-DL (D-demonstration).
- PSLV-DL acts as an orbital platform to conduct scientific experiments.
- For this launch, after putting the primary payload into orbit, the fourth stage moved further away into a circular orbit and started carrying out experiments with Kalamsat.
- With the success of the launch, ISRO is planning to make all its fourth stage of PSLVs to become orbital platforms for scientific experiments rather than leaving them as space debris.
- Kalamsat is an experimental satellite built by students from Space Kids India.
- It weighs just 1.26kg and is a 10cm cube.
- This is the lightest satellite to launch from India.
- It will function for 2 months in space.
India’s Military Satellites:
The Indian military satellites consist of both communication satellites, imaging satellites, global positioning satellites, and remote sensing satellites. The following is the list of satellites currently under operation:
- Risat-1 and Risat-2
- Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 series
- Navic constellation
- Rukmini satellite
- ISRO is always finding ways to optimally utilisze its resources for the betterment of the society.
- The usage of the fourth stage of PSLV as a scientific experiment platform is in that direction.
- When companies like Space X and Blue Origin are demonstrating superior capabilities in reusing launch vehicles, IRSO too is catching up.
- A day comes soon where complete re-usability of the launch vehicle is possible thereby making commercial space market cheaper and accessible.
- The Indian military’s growing importance on space-based assets comes in the wake of countries like China are fast advancing their military capabilities using space-based assets. Also, the USA has recently announced the formation of a military space command.
Though India is not inclining to develop Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons, it is ganging ground in using the satellites to better monitor the borders and provide secure communication channels across the length and breadth of the military forces.