On April 20th India got back on track with a successful launch of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket on its 16th mission after two consecutive failures of its larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle in 2010. The news is good for Canada as several Canadian satellites are set to launch on future PSLV missions.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said India will launch another three PSLV rockets this year. That would be an aggressive schedule for ISRO who have only launched three rockets successfully in one year, in 2008.
The launches would be for PSLV-C17, PSLV-C18 and PSLV-C19. And it’s that last launch which is tentatively scheduled between October and December that would include the first contingent of Canadian satellites. They are a couple of nanosatellites, CanX-4 and CanX-5, developed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory. Originally scheduled for launch in 2008 these satellites will launch 3 years late.
Up next in early 2012 would be PLSV-C20 which includes some critical Canadian satellites including NEOSsat and Sapphire.
NEOSsat or Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite will detect and track asteroids as well as satellites. It is funded by Defence Research Development Canada (DRDC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
The Sapphire satellite is Canada’s first dedicated military satellite and will provide space situational awareness of objects in deep space, from 6,000 to 40,000 km from earth and provide timely relevant and accurate tracking data on Earth-orbiting objects in space.
Also piggybacking on the PSLV-C20 launch are two more nanosatellites from the UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory, CanX-3A/UniBRITE & CanX-3B/BRITE.