The late-night dark skies at Sriharikota, India, lit up in bright orange hues as the PSLV-C42 lifted off and vanished into the thick black clouds, carrying two satellites from the United Kingdom — NovaSAR and S1-4 from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR. Local news outlet reports: The lightest version of the PSLV, flying in its core-alone version without the six strap-on motors, the PSLV-C-42 rose into the skies at 10.08 p.m. Almost 18 minutes later, the two satellites were placed in the desired orbit by ISRO. This was the 12th such launch of a core-alone version of the PSLV by ISRO. “This was a spectacular mission. We have placed the satellite in a very, very precise orbit,” R. Hutton, Mission Director, said. The two satellites, owned by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) were placed in a circular orbit around the poles, 583 km (362 miles) from Earth. The commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation earned more than â220 crore ($30.5 million) on this launch. The NovaSAR is a technology demonstration mission designed to test the capabilities of a new low cost S-band SAR platform. It will be used for ship detection and maritime monitoring and also flood monitoring, besides agricultural and forestry applications. The S1-4 will be used for environment monitoring, urban management, and tackling disasters. On the sidelines, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said it will launch three more satellites to provide high-speed bandwidth connectivity to rural areas as part of the government’s Digital India programme, a local news agency reported.
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