ISRO launches UNNATI Programme; will launch Kalamsat, Microsat-R satellites on January 24

National space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on January 17, 2019 launched the UNNATI (UNispace Nano-satellite Assembly and Training by ISRO) programme at the U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru. UNNATI is a capacity building programme on nanosatellite development. The programme was launched following an announcement made by ISRO Chairman K Sivan during a symposium in Vienna on June 18, 2018.

ISRO will launch a student satellite called ‘Kalamsat’ and an imaging satellite known as ‘Microsat-R’ on January 24, 2019, marking the first launch of the ISRO in 2019. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) will lift off the satellites from the spaceport Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This will be the 46th flight of PSLV. The 45th flight of PSLV-C43 had successfully launched 31 satellites from Sriharikota in November 2018.

The UNNATI Programme is an ISRO initiative to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50). UNNATI programme is planned to be conducted by U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) of ISRO for 3 years in 3 batches and will target to benefit 90 officials from 45 countries.

Key Highlights:-

1. One of the specialties of the launch would be the configuration of the rocket.
2. It will carry only two strap-on motors by the sides of the first fuel stage at the bottom.
3. This is the first time the launch vehicle is built in this configuration known as PSLV-DL.
4. After parking the satellites in the intended orbits, the fourth stage of the rocket will be taken to a circular orbit in space for carrying out certain experiments by the scientists.
5. Normally, the fourth stage is kept deserted in space after the injection of the satellites. This time, it will be kept ‘live’ for carrying out innovative studies.

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