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AIR spotlight summary on “Successful Launch of SCATSAT-1”



AIR spotlight summary on “Successful Launch of SCATSAT-1”


  • ISRO launched PSLV’s longest flight SCATSAT-1 carrying eight satellites. This is the first mission of PSLV where it will be launching its payloads into two different orbits. These eight satellites will be placed in two different altitudes at 720-km and 689-km polar orbit. 
  • In 2016 this is the 32nd satellite launched by ISRO including the previous 20 satellites launched with the CARTOSAT-2C.

Highlights of SCATSAT-1

  • This is called multiple burn technology where 4th stage is switched off and again ignited which is a complex task in the cold and low gravity environment.
  • The rocket’s main cargo is the 371 kg SCATSAT-1 for ocean and weather related studies. This was placed into a 730-km polar sun synchronous orbit around 17 minutes into the flight. After that the remaining 7 satellites were put into the lower orbit with altitude of 689-km.
  • This kind of launch is achieved by very few nations. Countries are launching multiple satellites on a single orbit but launching into multiple orbits gives an edge to ISRO. So other countries including USA are coming to India to launch their satellites. This is a big advantage to the million dollar satellite industry.
  • SCATSAT-1, the primary satellite, is meant for weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking. It can carry deep study of the wind movement. The rocket is carrying five foreign and three Indian satellites.
  • Among the five foreign satellites, three are from Algeria, one each from Canada and the US. The two other Indian satellites are: Pratham (10kg) built by Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-Bombay) and Pisat (5.25 kg) from PES University, Bengaluru.
  • While PRATHAM’s objective is to estimate Total Electron Count, PISAT’s mission is to design and develop a nano satellite for remote sensing applications.
  • The SCATSAT-1 was built in a record time and at a record cost. It was built using the spare parts left over from other missions and the cost is only 40% of what it had been to build a satellite from the scratch. It has taken less than a year whereas building such satellites normally takes 3 years.
  • SCATSAT-1 will replace the OCEANSAT-2. SCATSAT is named after scatterometer which is used for measuring atmospheric diffusion.

Achievements of ISRO

  • PSLV has a very limited range. Whereas GSLV Mark 3 can launch satellites of more than 4000 kg. Through this ISRO will be capable of launching INSAT kind of satellites and will become self reliant in the field of launching of satellites.
  • 2016 marks the completion of India’s satellite based navigation system – NAVIC which is a big achievement for ISRO. It will be effective not only from Indian landmass but also about 1500 kms from both sides. The range has to be increased and the present GPS can be done away with. It is expected that ISRO will be working for better service than GPS in the years to come.
  • ISRO is known for Innovation. The INSAT 1 series were 3 in 1 satellites. It combined the operations of weather forecasting, communication and other things in one satellite. Whereas other countries were using different satellites for different purpose. Performing multiple functions in a single satellite is cost effective.
  • Cost cutting has been the motto of ISRO and is doing it in an indigenous manner. This was seen in the Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan missions.
  • PSLV’s 36 success of 37 flights is a remarkable achievement. This gives confidence to ISRO and other countries that are coming to launch their satellites.


  • One of the problems which ISRO faces is the lack of Transponders. We need at least 500 transponders. At the moment ISRO has less than 300 transponders. There is a big need of transponders to fulfil our telecommunication needs. With the sufficient transponders we can be ready with the GSLV Mark-3 and can launch our own INSAT class satellites.
  • What happens with the foreign launch is that they have their own schedule and there is queue for our satellites. We may not be able to launch our satellites when we need it. It may be delayed by a year or even more. So development of launching 4000 kg INSAT class satellites is very important and will make us self reliant.