The PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched PSLV C-42 into orbit carrying two international satellites from the United Kingdom – Nova SAR and S1-4 – from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on September 16, 2018, at 10:08 pm.
Both Nova SAR and S1-4 satellites together weighed about 889 kg and the commercial launch was conducted under an arrangement between Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL) and Antrix Corporation Limited of ISRO.
NOVA SAR is an S-Band Synthetic Radar satellite intended for forest monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring, and land use and ice cover monitoring. It has a dedicated maritime mode designed with a very wide swath area of 400km to enable the monitoring of the marine environment that will provide direct radar ship detection information simultaneously with AIS Ship tracking data to assist with the identification and tracking of sea-going vessels.
Hours before the satellite launch, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSCC) Director S. Somanath stated, “When I joined ISRO in 1985, the PSLV was still on paper, and the only rocket we had was SLV-3, the ASLV was struggling with people ridiculing us and asking when it will reach space. It had earned the moniker of Always Sea Launch Vehicle (ASLV) as it kept failing and landing in water. To see PSLV grow from an idea and to become Isro’s workhorse is a great feeling.”