India successfully launched five satellites into orbit 12 July, one of them a miniature satellite built by Indian university students, space officials say.

India's four-stage space workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully placed into orbit the Cartosat-2B advanced remote sensing satellite, the Algerian Alsat-2A Earth observation satelltie, two nano-satellites and a 650g pico-satellite students from a consortium of technical institutes from the South Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Of the two nano satellties, one was built by Space Flight Laboratory at the the University of Toronto, Canada and the other by the University of Applied Sciences.

The 44m tall, 230t core version of the PSLV was modified to carry the two larger satellites. The first stage of PSLV is one of the largest solid propellant boosters in the world, carrying 139t of fuel. A cluster of six strap-ons are attached to the first stage; of those four are ignited on the ground and two are air-lit.

The launch is the sixteenth sucessfull flight of the multiple payload, multi-mission PSLV, which also served as the launcher for India's first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1.

India's home-grown three-stage geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV), failed to launch in an 15 April mission, most likley due to a faulty fuel booster turbo pump. A series of ground tests for the GSLV are planned along with a flight test within a year.

The Indian Space Research Organisation continues to move forward with an ambitious space programme including the country's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-II, in 2013.

Source: Flight International