Early Thursday morning at 5.47 a.m. Indian local time, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the Indian built RISAT-1 earth observation satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. During the post-launch briefing ISRO chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan said that the next Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launch will be for the French SPOT-6 satellite in August.
The SPOT-6 launch was moved up as the SARAL satellite, a joint India-France project, is not ready for launch. SARAL was due to launch on the next PSLV launch, PSLV-C20, with Canada’s Sapphire, NEOSSat, CanX-3a and CanX-3b nanosatellites and other secondary payloads.
The launch of SARAL and the contingent of Canadian satellites has now been pushed back to Q4 of this year and could slip into early next year.
NEOSSat will be the first space telescope dedicated to the search for near-Earth asteroids. NEOSSat is the result of a university-industry collaboration and will spend half the time looking for these small interplanetary objects that could potentially impact the Earth and cause great damage. NEOSSat will spend the other half of its time searching for satellites and space debris in orbit around the Earth in a research project sponsored by a DND agency, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).
Sapphire is the Department of National Defence (DND) first dedicated military satellite and will upgrade Canada’s space surveillance capabilities.
Also launching on the PSLV rocket are the Canadian built CanX-3b (aka TUGSAT-1) and CanX-3a (aka UniBRITE) nanosatellites. Both of these nanosatellites we’re built by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Laboratory.
UPDATE: PS Veeraraghavan, ISRO Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre said the PSLV C-20 with Canada’s satellites will launch in October.