“Congratulations ISRO! We’re happy to be on board,” the Canadian Space Agency tweeted Monday morning after India successfully launched a dedicated space observatory aimed at studying celestial objects.
The 1.5-tonne Astrosat was placed into orbit by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, the Indian Space Research Organization said.
The PSLV also launched six foreign satellites, including a nanosatellite from the University of Toronto’s Space Flight Laboratory.
“This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe,” ISRO said.
“Astrosat is designed to observe the universe in the visible, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads,” the space agency said.
One of those payloads, the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, was built in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency.
Dr. John Hutchings of the National Research Council Canada is the principal investigator for Canada’s contribution.
Hutchings co-led the development of the three Canadian detectors for the UVIT, CSA said.
“By exploring distant galaxies in ultraviolet light, we can study the formation and life cycle of galaxies, as well as star formation within galaxies. That’s one of the science drivers of this project,” it quoted Hutchings as saying.
Canada’s participation in Astrosat entitles Canadian scientists to observation time on the satellite, the agency said.
The PSLV is the workhorse of the Indian space program. It has launched 84 satellites since 1994, including 51 for customers abroad.
Images are courtesy of ISRO.