The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday successfully launched Astrosat, India’s first dedicated space observatory, from the space port of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It is aimed at studying celestial objects.
PSLV-C30 is carrying Astrosat along with six other co-passengers, one satellite each from Indonesia and Canada, and four nano satellites from the US.
Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee and Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) that met on September 25 had cleared the launch of PSLV-C30.
Commenting on the launch, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman AS Kiran Kumar had recently said, “What it means for India is this: it is one of the first scientific missions which will be available to the Indian researcher community as an observation opportunity. This is a starting point for such things.”
Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.
One of the unique features of Astrosat mission is that it enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite, ISRO said.
Astrosat will observe the universe in optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.
Astrosat with a lift-off mass of about 1513 kg was launched into a 650 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 degree to the equator by PSLV-C30.
According to ISRO, after injection into Orbit, the two solar panels of ASTROSAT will automatically deployed in quick succession. The spacecraft control centre at Mission Operations Complex (MOX) of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru will manage the satellite during its mission life.
ISRO said the scientific objectives of Astrosat mission are to understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars and to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy.
The mission is also to detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky and to perform a limited deep field survey of the universe in the ultraviolet region.
Astrosat scheduled for five years of flight carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor.
Apart from ISRO, four other Indian institutions – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute-are involved in payload development.
Two of the payloads are in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency and University of Leiscester, UK, ISRO said.