SRIHARIKOTA, Andhra Pradesh -- India's first dedicated satellite for astronomical research, ASTROSTAT, blasted off from here at exactly 10 am on Monday. The 44.4 metres-tall polar satellite launch vehicle's XL variant (PSLV-XL) weighs around 320 tons. Besides ASTROSAT, the rocket carries six other foreign satellites.
The PSLV will fly in its extended configuration this time, keeping in view the total payload weight of 1631 kg. The ASTROSTAT has the ability to observe celestial bodies like distant stars and cosmic X-Ray sources in different wavelengths simultaneously.
The six foreign satellites include four identical nano-satellites of Spire Global Inc., the US, a micro-satellite from Indonesia and a nano-satellite of the University of Toronto, Canada.
Within 22 minutes 33 seconds of ignition of the PSLV, it would lob Astrosat in its 650 km orbit, followed by the smaller payloads. The science research mission Astrosat with five years of intended operational life would serve as a space observatory.