ISRO's homegrown workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) placed in a 'Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit' Resourcesat-2, Youthsat and X-Sat about 18 minutes after it blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre launch pad in Sriharikota, 90 km from Chennai, at 10.12 am.
"PSLV-C16 Resourcesat-2 mission is successful," a jubilant Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Radhakrishnan announced shortly after all the three satellites were hurled into space one after another, 822 km above Earth in a text book launch.
Besides Resourscesat-2, the PSLV rocket also launched Youthsat, weighing 92 kg, a joint Indo-Russian nanosatellite for stellar and atmospheric studies. The third satellite was 106-kg X-Sat, an image applications spacecraft built by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This is the first time, ISRO is launching a Singapore-built satellite.
Radhakrishnan said the launch of two foreign satellites showed the PSLV's reliability had been recognized internationally.
"It is a glad moment for the entire ISRO community. ISRO has proved its mettle and the mission performed exceedingly well. It's a reassurance to the nation that the confidence in ISRO is fully justified," Mission Director P Kunhikrishnan said in remarks that summed up the mood of the space scientists who needed the morale booster after the double GSLV failure.
It was anxiety all the way for the Indian space scientists at the Mission Control since the rocket blasted off and injected the satellites into space. Each stage of successful separation was greeted with loud applause.
The Resourscesat-2 with three high resolution cameras on a single platform would capture images that will be useful in assessing the health of crops, monitoring deforestation and water levels in reservoirs and lakes besides the snow-melt in the Himalayas.
ISRO officials said it would help in catering to the national and global data needs to address multiple aspects of resource inventory and monitoring in specific areas of applications including agriculture, water resources, rural development, bio-resources and geological exploration.
Data from the satellite would help in facilitating a variety of applications including disaster management and related activities.
Apart from the three cameras with high, medium and coarse resolutions, Resourcesat-2 also has two solid state recorders with a capacity of 200 GB each to store images which can be accessed by the ground stations later. (The Computer and Auditor General of India has, however, found that almost 90 per cent of images taken by ISRO satellites lie unused.)
It also carries Automatic Identification System (AIS) from COMDEV, Canada, as an experimental payload for ship surveillance in VHF band to derive position, speed and other information about ships.