India launches BlackSky Pathfinder satellite

PSLV launch
India’s PSLV-C35 rocket rises from its launch pad, carrying eight satellites into space. (Credit: ISRO / Doordharshan via YouTube)

A satellite that’s meant to blaze a trail for Seattle-based BlackSky Global’s Earth-imaging constellation rose into orbit tonight atop India’s four-stage PSLV-C35 rocket.

BlackSky’s Pathfinder 1 was among eight satellites launched from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at 8:42 p.m. PT Sept. 25 (9:12 a.m. Sept. 26 local time). Over the course of more than two hours, the spacecraft were deployed into two separate sets of orbits.

For India, the star of the show is the 800-pound SCATSAT-1, which will provide data for improved weather forecasting, particularly for tropical cyclones. But for BlackSky Global, a subsidiary of Seattle’s Spaceflight Industries, it’s all about Pathfinder 1.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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