Isro launches record 104 satellites

Isro launches record 104 satellites

Scripting history, India on Wednesday successfully launched a record 104 satellites from Sriharikota and put them into orbit in a single mission on board its most dependable Polar rocket.

Of the 104 satellites, 101 belong to foreign customers.

Recording its 38th consecutive success, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) injected India’s weather observation Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit in a gap of 30 minutes after a textbook lift-off from the Sriharikota spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.

As the country seeks a bigger slice of the multi-billion dollar space launch industry, the Isro bettered the Russian space agency’s feat of launching 37 satellites at one go in 2014. The previous highest number of satellites launched by Isro in one mission was 20 in June 2015.

A majority of the satellites have earth-imaging capability, while the Indian cartographic satellite is capable of taking high-resolution images.

Celebrations erupted at the spaceport when the Isro chief announced that all the satellites had been put into orbit as planned. “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire Isro team for the wonderful job they have done,” a beaming Isro Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.

Cartosat-2 Series satellite, a remote sensing spacecraft with a five-year life span, will send images that would be utilised in coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water and creation of land use maps, among others, Isro said.

The rocket first put into orbit the 714-kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite, followed by the co-passengers — Isro’s INS-1A and INS-1B, and 96 nano satellites belonging to two US companies, and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE.

The satellites were placed in the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit in 30 minutes during a series of separations.

So far, Isro has launched 226 satellites, including 179 belonging to foreign countries.
At the end of the 23-hour countdown, the shortest so far by Isro, the PSLV, on its 39th flight, blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 9.28 am and soared into clear skies.

Isro said it was able to reduce the countdown time, which normally varies upto 52 hours, as the preparations were completed in a shorter span. Kumar said 77 satellites have already started communicating with the earth stations.

He said the mission was about maximising Isro’s returns and improving its capabilities. “Through PSLV, we are trying to capture a particular segment (of space launch market),” he said. 

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