Isro to launch 103 satellites at one go

Isro to launch 103 satellites at one go

Isro to launch 103 satellites at one go

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is set to create a record soon by putting 103 satellites into outer space by using its polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).

“We are making a century by launching over 100 satellites at one go,” said S Somnath, director, Isro’s Liquid Propulsion System Centre, at the 104th Indian Science Congress here on Wednesday.

Most of them are micro satellites, while the principal payload would be Cartosat-2D, which would provide less than one metre resolution images over a distance of 10 km. In 2016, Isro launched 22 satellites at one go.

The space agency earlier planned to carry out the launch towards the end of January with 83 satellites, out of which 80 were foreign ones.

“But with the addition of 20 more foreign satellites, the launch was delayed by a week and is now expected to take place in the first week of February,” Somnath said.

Isro chairman A S Kiran Kumar said in Bengaluru last week that out of the 83 satellites, 80 belong to foreign countries, including Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US. Together they weigh about 500 kg.

The three Indian satellites are Cartosat 2D, weighing 730 kg, and INS-1A and INS-1B, weighing 30 kg each. Because of the PSLV’s reliability, Isro now plans to conduct eight launches in 2018 and later wants to move to 12 to 20 launches in a year.

Buoyed by the successes of the moon and mars probes, Indian space scientists now plan future missions to Venus and Jupiter. The plans, however, are at the nascent stage as the economic viability, vis-a-vis the scientific gains, are still being worked out.

The next two outer-space missions will be Chandrayan-II in 2018 and Aditya-L1 mission in April 2019 to study the sun. Another space mission to send an x-ray polarimeter satellite has also received approval from the government, said M Nageshwara Rao, associate director of Isro Satellite Centre.