• Under a starry night and a waning gibbous moon, ISRO’s PSLV C-44 broke the silence over a brimming Pulicat lake as it lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, to successfully place in orbit military satellite Microsat-R.
  • The mission, with a modified PSLV with just dual strap-on motors (PSLV-DL), marked another first for ISRO – it provided an alternative to its normal six strap-on motors.
  • This will enable the rocket to carry slightly higher payloads than its Core-Alone version.
  • Towards the end of the first stage, the rocket’s plumes were white with its tail end burning bjustify red even as a large flock of birds passed on the horizon.
  • A second later, as the rocket soared further into the night sky, the second stage ignition burned a bjustify orange propelling the rocket ahead.
  • Microsat-R was placed in orbit 13 and-a-half minutes after lift-off.
  • It is the first time an Indian satellite was being placed by ISRO in a low orbit at an altitude of 274 km.
  • ISRO also used this launch as an opportunity to demonstrate the usability of the fourth stage of the rocket after the satellites are ejected into orbit.
  • The fourth stage used to just become yet another piece of space debris.
  • However, ISRO has found a way to make use of this stage with student satellite Kalamsat, made by Space Kidz India, weighing just 1.26kg, attached to it.
  • This would enable any agency that wants to conducts experiments in space to use the fourth stage till it disintegrates naturally.
  • The fourth stage may be orbiting in space for six months to a year.
  • ISRO is aiming to use this time-frame to enable agencies to run short time experiments.