PSLV-C51/ Amazonia-1 Launched Successfully From SDSC SHAR

-By Lalit Koundaal

Cr: Isro

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) known as the work horse of IRSO achieved the 53rd launch carrying Amazonia-1 of Brazil and 18 Co-passenger satellites onboard today, on 28 Feb 2021 at 1024 hrs IST from the first launch pad of SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. Launch rehearsal of PSLV-C51 was completed on Feb 25, 2021. Amazonia-1 is an optical earth observation satellite developed by the National Institute of space research (INPE), Brazil. This was the first launch of the Bazilian satellite from India. The 18 co-passenger satellites included four from IN-SPACe (three UNITYsats from the consortium of three Indian academic institutes and One Satish Dhawan Sat from Space Kidz India) and 14 from NSIL.

(Representational Photo: PTI)

More about Amazonia 1-

Amazonia 1 is the first Earth Observation satellite completely designed, integrated, tested, and operated by Brazil. Amazonia -1 is part of the Amazon Mission and will provide remote sensing data (images) to observe and monitor deforestation, especially in the Amazon region, as well as the diversified agriculture throughout the country Brazil with a high revisit rate, working in synergy with existing environmental programs.

Amazonia – 1 Specifications
Satélite de Sensoriamento Remoto-1
Mission typeEarth Observation (EO)
Mission Duration4 Years
Launch Mass637 Kg
Reference systemGeocentric Orbit
RegimeSun-synchronous Orbit
Perigee Altitude760 Km
Apogee Altitude760 Km

PSLV, the work horse –


Even in the year 2020, the pandemic could not deter PSLV from soaring in space and recorded two successful launches, marking a 100% success rate. This year, four launches are scheduled and the first launch being of Amazonia-1. In view of the strict COVID-19 pandemic norms in place at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota, the live telecast of the launch was streamed and was available on the ISRO website, YouTube, Face book and Twitter channels.

PSLV,NSIL & Money money  –

PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of New Space India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under the Department of Space, established on 6 March 2019. NSIL is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the primary responsibility of enabling Indian industries to take up high technology space-related activities. NSIL is also responsible for the promotion and commercial exploitation of the products and services emanating from the Indian space. The NSIL undertook this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight USA.

As of date, India has launched 342 foreign satellites from 34 countries and earned $25 million from the global market including the US, €189 million from the European market.

NSIL is being seen as a big competitor of SpaceX and small satellite firms are looking at SpaceX for low-cost launches. According to SpaceX, per kilogram of launch cost comes to $ 6,100 i.e a satellite launch of Amazonia-1(weighing 637 kg) would cost $3.9 million. The price range of one PSLV mission is between Rs 210 Crore to Rs 270 Crore as per the media reports.

Elon Musk, CEO & Founder of SpaceX has the ambitious goal to decreases the cost and improve the reliability of access to space, ultimately by a factor of ten. CEO Elon Musk said, “I believe US$500 per pound (US$1100/kg) or less is very achievable”. Musk has also stated that he wishes to make space travel available for “almost anyone”.

Future plans of NSIL-

According to Dr. K Shivan, Chairman ISRO,  a host of small satellites and mega-constellations like OneWeb and other dedicated launches would keep NSIL busy. NSIL ability to give more frequent launches would be boosted by SSLV (Small satellite Launch Vehicle) and another site (in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district) for launch operations which is under development. TN government has identified more than 961 hectares in Thoothukudi. Once the SSLV is ready for taking up the launches, GSLV & PSLV would take the back seat for National Needs & big missions.

Conclusion –

PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 launch was successful at the designated time and everything went as planned. This is a feather in the cap of IRSO first and NSIL second and a proud moment for the entire nation. IRSO’s space missions are the epitome of the relentless efforts of scientists & engineers of India in the times when the countries possessing the know-how refused flatly to share the technology & imposed sanctions to derail India’s advancement.

The race for space is already on and India as a nation has set another benchmark.

 IRSO & NSIL have a whole space to conquer!!




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