India's PSLV-C44 Successfully Launches Two Satellites Microsat-R, Kalamsat-V2


"Kalamsat" was conceptualised and designed by an eight-member student team, comprising two graduates and six undergraduates, hand-picked by Chennai-based start-up Space Kidz India. The satellite will be powered by the PSLV's fourth stage - a first for any space agency. "With this, PSLV-C44 mission will become the first in the world to use the rocket for a space experiment platform".

Microsat-R and its payload come assembled from a handful of laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and is meant for military use. Their first satellite, also called Kalamsat, went into space on a NASA rocket in 2017, but it was a sub-orbital flight, meaning it was not put into an orbit.

An updated version of India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) was used on Thursday to deliver two communications satellites into orbit. ISRO chairman K Sivan congratulated students and said: "For the first time the PS4 will be revived for students to do experiments". ISRO is open to all students across India.

An even lighter satellite, weighing 64 grams and built by the same group of students, was launched on a four-hour mission for a sub-orbital flight from a Nasa facility in the USA in June 2017.

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In the first mission for the ISRO in 2019, its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) blasted off from the first launchpad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 11:37 pm at the end of a 28-hour countdown.

Srimathy Kesan, founder-CEO of Space Kidz India, told Express, on the eve of the all-important launch scheduled for 11.37 pm on Thursday, "We have been waiting for this moment for years". Reportedly, the space agency will not charge anything to launch the satellite. Yesterday's launch was the first time this rocket was used in conjunction with two strap-on boosters.

India has been competing for a larger slice of the booming commercial satellite dispatch business as a phone, internet and different organizations looking for extended and all the more high-end communications.

The 10-centimetre (four-inch) cube satellite, named Kalamsat V2, weighs just 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds), according to students from the private Space Kidz India group who designed the celestial unit. "It will be followed by GSAT 30 which will be a replacement for INSAT 4A", Sivan said. He is actively involved in multiple startups, helping them build and develop modern web products.