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The rocket’s fourth stage demonstrated an additional capability.
Monday’s launch, the second of the year for India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), was tasked with a series of maneuvers for the rocket’s upper stage to insert twenty-nine deployable payloads into their pre-planned orbits over the first two hours of its flight.
Following separation of the last payload, the upper stage will maneuver to a final orbit where it will operate as a research platform, hosting three attached payloads to demonstrate this capability for future missions. The launch also tests out a new configuration for the PSLV, a further intermediate between the lightest and heaviest versions of the rocket.
UPDATE: Yesterday China also launched a communications satellite designed to facilitate in-space communications, using its Long March 3B rocket.
The leaders in the 2019 launch race:
3 Europe (Arianespace)
The U.S. continues to lead China in the national rankings 6 to 4.