The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its 42nd communication satellite CMS-01 on Thursday, at 3.41 pm IST. It lifted off into the cloudy skies from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Initially scheduled to launch on 8 December and again to 14 December, it was pushed back due to bad weather and the possibility of hurricanes. The CMS-01 satellite will be the first in a new series of communication satellites that India will be launching after the GSAT and INSAT series.
This is the second ISRO launch that is taking amind the Coronavirus pandemic. On 7 November, ISRO had launched the PSLV C49 that had delivered 10 satellites. This included EOS-01 which is an earth observation satellite that will provide agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
The payload: CMS-01
CMS-01 is the 42nd communication satellite from India and weighs around 1,410 kgs. It will be replacing the ageing GSAT-12 satellite that was launched 15 July 2011 and was supposed to serve for seven years. However, it ended up serving a mission life of nine years. The CMS-01 will provide telecom services in the Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum. In a statement, ISRO has said the Extended-C Band coverage will include Indian mainland, Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. Twenty minutes into the flight, it will be set in the Geostationary Orbit (GEO) at 83° inclination.
The expected mission life of this spacecraft is supposed to be seven years or more.
According to IANS, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had earlier stated that the PSLV-C50 rocket launch will be followed by the launch of the new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) carrying the Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-02) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-F10 (GSLV) carrying the EOS-3. The other Indian satellites that are ready for launch are GISAT and Microsat-2A.
The PSLV-C50 rocket
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is ISRO’s workhorse rocket. This will be the 22nd flight of the PSLV rocket in the ‘XL’ configuration, and the 52nd PSLV flight. ISRO added that this will be the 77th launch vehicle mission from SDSC, SHAR.
The PSLV is 44-metre-high and has four stages with six strap-on booster motors on to the first stage that gives it’s a higher thrust during the initial flight moments. ISRO has developed and used different PSLV variants, including ones with either two or four strap-on motors, or the Core Alone variant without any strap-on motors. As the PSLV is not a reusable rocket, the first stage won’t be reclaimed and it will crash into the Indian Ocean.