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India Launches EO Constellation for UK-China Project

India haslaunched five UK satellites, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said Friday. The launch took place at 9:58 p.m. local time (16:28 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The rocket reached orbit 20 minutes after launch.

“The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its thirtieth flight (PSLV-C28), launched three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom (UK). The PSLV-C28, in addition to the three DMC3 satellites, also carried two auxiliary satellites from UK,” ISRO said on their website.

The Indian PSLV-C28 rocket in its high-tech XL configuration was launched into a 647 km [402 miles] Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) with three identical DMC3 Earth observation satellites, each of which weighs 447 kg (985 lb).

Apart from the satellites, the rocket also carries an 91-kg (200 lb) optical Earth Observation technology-demonstration micro satellite CBNT-1 and a 7-kg (15lb) experimental nano satellite De-orbitSail, developed by the UK University of Surrey Space Center.

Sino-UK remote sensing satellite constellation launched
Beijing, July 11 (Xinhua) — Three one-meter resolution optical Earth observation satellites were successfully launched early Saturday, according to operator Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company Ltd. (21AT).

The satellites, which will form the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation, were launched from a site in India and were part of a Sino-UK cooperation project.

The satellites were developed by UK-headquartered Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), which is the world’s leading small satellite company and part of the Airbus Group.

21AT, a commercial Earth observation satellite operator based in Beijing, provided the imaging capacity of the three satellites and dubbed the Constellation “Beijing-2.”

The Chinese company will manage the satellites’ operation, including observation and control, and data reception and production, as well as related services.

The cooperative contract for the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation was signed in London in 2011 and witnessed by the UK prime minister and Chinese premier.

According to SSTL, the satellites provide the best combination of spatial resolution and time resolution — which stimulates monitoring applications, such as urban planning and intelligent management, at a very high resolution.

Wang Zhiyong, 21AT deputy general manager, said Beijing-2 was a state-approved program and was part of national civilian-use space infrastructure.

China has encouraged private investment to support the launch and operation of remote sensing satellites, and ground application systems for satellite navigation.

Industry observers heralded “Beijing-2” as an important milestone in the involvement of the private sector and the commercialization and international cooperation in the industry.