An Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched 31 new satellites into orbit, making a successful comeback after a launch failure last August.
The PSLV rocket lifted off from the Indian Space Research Organisation's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the country's east coast carrying the agency's Cartosat-2F Earth observation satellite and 30 smaller payloads. Liftoff occurred Thursday, Jan. 11, at 10:59 p.m. EST (0359 Jan. 12 GMT), though it was Friday morning local time at the launch site.
The PSLV rocket launch was the first by ISRO since an Aug. 31 failure that doomed an Indian navigation satellite. That failure was traced to a malfunction with the booster's payload fairing separation system, ISRO have said.
The Cartosat-2F satellite launched on the new mission is an Earth-mapping satellite designed to assist land and resource monitoring and management, according to a mission description. It is part of a growing series of Cartosat-2 satellites launched by ISRO. It was delivered successfully into orbit 313 miles (505 kilometers) above Earth.
The 30 other satellites that hitched a ride to space with Cartosat-2F included a wide variety of craft from seven different countries, including the asteroid-hunting Arkyd-6 nanosatellite for the U.S. space mining company Planetary Resources.
"The co-passenger satellites comprise one Microsatellite and one Nanosatellite from India as well as 3 Microsatellites and 25 Nanosatellites from six countries, namely, Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and USA," ISRO officials wrote in a statement.