Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) rewrite history today Feb, 15th 2017. Successfully launched a record 104 satellites, including India’s earth observation satellite in one go by it’s Polar Satellite launch vehicle (PSLV). This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.
PSLV-C37 carrying the 104 satellites tore into the sky from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.28am. It was PSLV’s 39th rocket.
Congratulations to @isro for the successful launch of PSLV-C37 and CARTOSAT satellite together with 103 nano satellites!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 15, 2017
After seventeen minutes, the rocket started placing the satellites into orbit, one by one with a time duration of 11 minutes.
In this rocket launch ISRO launched a 101 satellites of six foreign countries, out of the total 104 satellites placed in orbit. They included 96 from the US and one each from UAE, Israel, Switzerland, Netherlands and Kazakhstan.
PSLV first injected its main payload Cartosat- 2 series, India’s home Sensibly built earth observation satellite. Followed by two other nanosatellites of ISRO - INS-1A and INS-1B.
Then it detached 101 satellites in the orbit in time period of less than 10 mins. Which are all foreign nanosatellites, as it travelled up in altitude reaching the polar sun synchronous orbit.
As Russian Space Agency held a record of launching 37 satellites with one rocket in June 2014. India previously launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June 2015.
PM Narendra modi and ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar, conveyed their hearty congratulations to the team.
PSLV-C37 / Cartosat -2 Series Mission Successfully Launched all 104 Satellites
— ISRO (@isro) February 15, 2017
All about the 104 satellites
A 664kg Cartosat -2 has Equipped with panchromatic and multispectral cameras, will provide remote sensing services like its predecessors. The Images from the Cartosat -2 will be used for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other land information system (LIS) and geographical information system (GSI) applications.
INS-1A and INS-1B are versatile and modular nanosatellite bus system envisioned for future science and experimental payload.
Among the 101 foreign satellites, 88 cube satellites belonged to San Francisco based earth imaging startup Planet. With the launch, the company has increased its fleet to 143 satellites which will soon begin capturing images of the earth’s entire landmass, including India, every day.
Eight other satellites belonging to Spire Global, US, will provide services for vessel tracking and weather measurement.
The nano satellites from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE are mostly technology demonstrators.
Top 10 facts of the launch.
- Of the 104 satellites ISRO launched today, three are Indian and 101 are foreign and smaller satellites.
- The space agency used the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for the launch. It carried a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller “nano satellites” which weighed a combined 664 kilograms.
- Most of the nano satellites are from other countries, including from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the US, said the state-run ISRO. A whopping 96 satellites are from the US alone.
- ISRO today beat the record+held by Russia, which in 2014 catapulted 37 satellites in a single launch, using a modified inter-continental ballistic missile.
- Last June, India set a national record after it successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites, including 13 from the US.
- The famously frugal ISRO hopes to set an enviable benchmark for the space fairing nations. In fact, in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi quipped that an Indian rocket that launched four foreign satellites into orbit cost less to make than the Hollywood film “Gravity”.
- Putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is a growing business sector. That’s because phone, Internet and other companies, as well as countries, are seeking greater and more high-tech communications.
- ISRO sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars in 2013 at a cost of just $73 million, compared with NASA’s Maven Mars mission which had a $671 million price tag.
- ISRO is also mulling the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus. The second mission to Mars is tentatively slated for in 2021-2022 time frame and as per existing plans it may well involve putting a robot on the surface of the Red Planet.
- The government is pleased with ISRO’s progress and in the recently announced annual budget it gave the space agency a 23 per cent increase in its budget.