ISRO'S PSLV-C51 set to launch Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 on Sunday
If things go as planned, an Indian rocket will launch a Brazilian satellite for the first-time from the Sriharikota spaceport on Sunday. It's also the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) first launch of 2021. Subject to weather conditions, the blastoff is scheduled for 10.24 hours from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC)-SHAR, Sriharikota, where countdown commenced at 08.54 hours on Saturday for the PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 mission.
Amazonia-1 is the primary satellite; 18 co-passenger payloads
PSLV-C51 rocket, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), will launch Amazonia-1 of Brazil as primary satellite and 18 co-passenger payloads from the first launch pad of the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district, about 100 kilometers from Chennai.
PM Modi's photo has been engraved on the spacecraft
These co-passenger satellites include Satish Dhawan Sat (SD SAT) from Chennai-based Space Kidz India (SKI). A picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been engraved on the top panel of this spacecraft. "This is to show solidarity and gratitude for his (PM's) Aatmanirbhar initiative and space privatization", said SKI, which is also sending up Bhagavad Gita in SD (secured digital) card.
First dedicated commercial mission of NSIL
It's also a big day for Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO's commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NSIL, which is undertaking it under a commercial arrangement with Seattle, US-based satellite rideshare and mission management provider, Spaceflight Inc.
Amazonia-1 is optical earth observation satellite of the INPE
"We are eagerly looking forward to the launch. We are very proud to launch the first Brazilian-built satellite," Chairman and Managing Director of NSIL, G Narayanan. The 637-kg Amazonia-1, which will be the first Brazilian satellite to be launched from India, is the optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Satellite will provide data about deforestation in Amazon
"This satellite would further strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory," an ISRO statement said.
More about the 18 co-passenger satellites
The 18 co-passenger satellites are- four from ISRO's Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (three UNITYsats from the consortium of three Indian academic institutes and the SD SAT from SKI) and 14 from NSIL. SKI will be sending 25,000 names onboard SD SAT. "When we finalized the mission, we asked people to send names that will be sent to space", a SKI official said.
Preventive measures taken in view of COVID-19 pandemic
In view of strict COVID-19 pandemic norms in place at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota, gathering of media personnel is not planned, and the launch viewing gallery will be closed. The live telecast of the launch will be available on the ISRO website, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter channels.