India's 1st Rocket Launch of 2019 Sends Military Satellite, Student Cubesat Into Orbit

India launched its first rocket of 2019 yesterday (Jan. 24), lifting two payloads into orbit: a military imaging satellite and a student-built orbital laboratory.

The rocket blasted off from India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 11:37 p.m. local time (12:47 p.m. EST, 1747 GMT) on Jan. 24, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation. The payloads flew on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV); India last launched a rocket of this model in November. Yesterday's launch was the first time this rocket was used in conjunction with two strap-on boosters.

About 13 minutes after launch, the military satellite, called Microsat-R, was deployed. Then, the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket fired twice more to carry itself to a height of 281 miles (453 kilometers), where it settled into orbit about an hour and 40 minutes after blastoff. [Video: Watch India's 1st Launch of 2019 Soar!]

India conducted its first launch of the new year on Jan. 24, launching two satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. (Image credit: ISRO)

That fourth stage carried a cubesat called Kalamsat-V2, a student-built orbiting laboratory of sorts that will remain in space for about six months, according to The Times of India. The project will measure the performance of student-designed communications, electronics and solar panels. Yesterday's launch is the first time India has conducted a project of this type. [In Photos: Indian Satellites Soar in the Country's 1st Space Launch of 2019]

"I hope the student community will make use of this opportunity being provided by ISRO," K. Sivan, the head of ISRO, said in a statement. "This new low cost technology will help students to conduct several inspiring experiments in space by attaching their instruments to the last stage of the rocket."

India is expected to launch its next PSLV rocket in February.

Email Meghan Bartels at or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook. Original article on

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.