An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off and successfully deployed a military electronic surveillance satellite and 28 nanosatellites for companies in the United States, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland at two different altitudes Monday, before the rocket’s upper stage began an extended mission as a solar-powered experiment platform in low Earth orbit.
India debuted a new configuration of its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, featuring four strap-on boosters and an upper stage with solar arrays to generate electrical power, with a liftoff at 0357 GMT Monday (11:57 p.m. EDT Sunday). The mission lofted an Indian military satellite and 28 nanosatellites for companies in the United States, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland.
An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is scheduled for liftoff Sunday night with an intelligence-gathering electronic surveillance satellite and 28 secondary payloads, including 20 Earth-imaging Dove nanosatellites for Planet, the U.S. company which criticized India’s anti-satellite test for generating space debris last week.
A Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East on Thursday carrying 28 satellites, including a pair of Russian mapping satellites, secondary payloads from Germany, Japan, Spain, South Africa, and a dozen Earth-observing CubeSats and eight commercial weather payloads for Planet and Spire.
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off Thursday and deployed in orbit a hyperspectral Earth-imaging satellite designed to assess vegetation, soil conditions and pollution in rich detail, then maneuvered to a lower altitude to release 30 more smallsats, including reinforcements for Planet and Spire’s commercial Earth-observing constellations.
Rocket Lab’s Electron booster launched six small satellites and a drag sail demonstrator to orbit Sunday from New Zealand, a success on the company’s first commercial mission that officials said should pave the way for a launch carrying NASA CubeSats next month and up to 16 flights of the light-class rocket next year.