India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C18) demonstrated its reliability once again when it put successfully four satellites in orbit on Wednesday. The satellites were: Megha-Tropiques, an Indo-French satellite to study the weather and climate in the tropical region of the world; SRMSat built by the students of SRM University, near Chennai; Jugnu, built by the students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur; and Vesselsat from Luxembourg. This was the 19th consecutively successful mission of the PSLV out of 20 launches from 1993.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) scored past the half-century mark by launching the Megha-Tropiques and other satellites.
Heaviest amongst the PSLV-C18’s luggage is the 1,000 kg Megha-Tropiques satellite – a result of Indo-French collaboration – designed to study the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics. The satellite will provide scientific data on contribution of the water cycle to the tropical atmosphere with information on condensed water in clouds, water vapour in the atmosphere, precipitation and evaporation.
India is the second nation in the world to launch such a space mission.
The French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) has built three instruments of Megha-Tropiques: SAPHIR, SCARAB and GPS-ROS. The fourth, MADRAS, is a joint effort of ISRO and CNES.
The three smaller satellites carried by the PSLV-C18 are the 10.9 kg SRMSAT built by the students of SRM University near Chennai, the three kg remote sensing satellite Jugnu from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and the 28.7 kg VesselSat from LuxSpace of Luxembourg to locate ships on high seas.