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!]
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.