ISRO successfully launches Indo-French satellite 'SARAL', six mini satellites

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 13:59 hrs

Sriharikot: The Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday successfully launched the Indo-French satellite 'SARAL'.

The 'SARAL' is aimed at oceanographic studies. Apart from 'SARAL, 'six foreign mini and micro satellites were also launched on the PSLV from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C20 was launched from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 6.01 p.m., a television channel said.

It was initally slated for blast-off at 5.56 p.m. local time.

President Pranab Mukherjee was also present at the mega launch.

The 59-hour countdown for the launch commenced at 6.56 a.m. on Saturday.

This is the 23rd mission of PSLV, which has an impeccable record of 21 consecutive successful flights.

This is the ninth time ISRO is using the 'core alone' variant of the rocket.

The 668.5 kgs and 44.4 metres tall rocket will have a lift off mass of 229.7 tonnes. Besides SARAL, two micro-satellites-UniBRITE and BRITE from Austria, AAUSAT3 from Denmark, STRaND from United Kingdom, Micro-satellite NEOSSat and Mini-satellite SAPPHIRE from Canada, were launched from the spaceport on Monday evening.

ISRO had initially planned to launch SARAL on December 12 last year but postponed it to carry out additional tests to "address technical issues to ensure reliability".

The ISRO-built SARAL is a 410-kg satellite with payloads-Argos and Altika-from French space agency CNES for study of ocean parameters towards enhancing the understanding of the ocean state conditions which are otherwise not covered by the in-situ measurements.

SARAL will provide data products to operational and research user communities, in support of marine meteorology and sea state forecasting; operational oceanography; seasonal forecasting; climate monitoring; ocean, earth system and climate research, the officials said.

Altimeter (Altika) would help study the sea surface heights while Argos payload is a satellite-based data collection platform. 

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