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The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched an earth observing satellite to gather pollution, soil and water data. Along with it 30 other micro and nanosatellites of eight other countries were launched on Thursday after a 16-hour countdown.

The 31 satellites were launched at 09:58 am in two different orbits by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C43) in its 45th flight.

According to ISRO, the Indian satellite, Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HySIS), will help in monitoring pollution from industries. It will also have other applications in agriculture, geology, forestry, coastal zone study and inland water studies.

“HysIS is a very rare satellite with a super-sharp eye, and very few countries have indigenously mastered this technology,” said ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan.

“HysIS is an earth observation satellite developed by ISRO. It was the primary satellite of the PSLV-C43 mission. The satellite was placed in 636 km polar sun synchronous orbit (SSO) with an inclination of 97.957 deg. The mission life of the satellite is 5 years,” ISRO said.

“The satellite will observe the surface of the earth and provide all the soil, water, vegetation and other data. Scientists may pick and choose what they want, but pollution monitoring will be possible,” an ISRO official said on the condition of anonymity.

The weight of the satellite is nearly 380 kg. It will be placed in a 636-km polar sun-synchronous orbit, where the satellite passes over any given geographical area of the earth when the inclination of the sun is the same. The satellite will have a five-year mission life.

ISRO holds the record for launching the highest number of satellites in a single mission – 104 – on February 15, 2017.

The co-passengers of HysIS include one microsatellite and 29 nanosatellites from Australia, Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Columbia, Finland and the US. Of these, one microsatellite and 22 nanosatellites are from the United States.

“Our customers must be happy as all the babies have been delivered to their homes safely,” Dr Sivan said.

All eyes are now on the launch of GSAT-11, India’s heaviest communications satellite till date, from the French space port at Kourou in South America on December 5.

Next year, the ISRO will launch the Chandrayaan 2 to the moon, where ISRO hopes to place a rover.

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