Indian Space Research Organisation set a world record by successfully launching 104 satellites, including India’s earth observation satellite, on a single rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 blasted off at 9:28 AM from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into the orbit followed by the remaining 103 nano satellites after a gap of about 30 minutes.
As the scientists at the Mission Control centre broke into cheers, ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar announced: “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done.”
ISRO had earlier launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June 2015. And the Russian Space Agency had launched 37 satellites in one go.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Team ISRO for the successful launch.
This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 15, 2017
After a 28-hour countdown, the PSLV-C37 injected the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite followed by ISRO’s nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B in an 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
This was followed by launch of the other 101 nano satellites of overseas clients in blocks in a series of separations.
Cartosat-2 series satellite, with a mission life of five years, will send images that would cater to coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water, creation of land use maps among others.
Of the 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 belonged to USA, five others belonged to ISRO’s clients Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.
The nano-satellites belonging to international customers are being launched as part of the arrangement between international customers and Antrix Corporation Ltd (ANTRIX) the commercial arm of ISRO.
PSLV-C37 Project Director B Jayakumar said it was a “great moment for each and everyone,” confirming all 104 satellites were successfully deployed in the orbit.
ISRO Director, Kiran Kumar said that ISRO was enabling the MARS Orbiter Mission to survive a long eclipse duration after which it would function for at least 2-3 years unless “we encounter any more difficulties”.
“Now we are targeting GSLV MkII and then Mk III…a series of launch activities planned to ensure that like last year, this year also, we have many exciting events coming,” he added.
So far ISRO has launched 226 satellites out of which 179 are from foreign nations.”
He said launching 104 satellites onboard a single rocket was a complex mission. “But our teams came up with very good solutions. The integration part are also done very well by our team. it is enjoyable mission and excellent team work..”
“It is one of the toughest missions we have handled,” said ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan.
(With inputs from PTI)