The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) made history by launching a record 104 satellites, including India’s earth observation satellite, on a single rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota. This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission, according to ET.
101 satellites belonged to international customers
ISRO’s trusted vehicle PSLV-C37 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37) took off from the Sriharikota space center with the 104 satellites, of which about 100 satellites belonged to international customers. Of the 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 were from the U.S., while five belonged to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan.
PSLV-C37 / Cartosat-2 series Mission Lift off Normal as expected.
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— ISRO (@isro) February 15, 2017
ISRO said the countdown for the launch of the PSLV-C37/Cartosat2 Series satellite mission started at 5:28 a.m. yesterday, soon after the Launch Authorization Board and Mission Readiness Review Committee gave their approvals for the liftoff. Then scientists began filling the rocket with propellant.
The first satellite to be let off was India’s high-resolution Cartosat-2 series satellite, which was made especially to monitor the activities of hostile neighbors at a resolution of less than a meter, keeping a close view on both China and Pakistan, according to ET. The Cartosat-2 Series has a mission life of five years.
Ajay Lele of ISRO said that the entire launch lasted 28 minutes, and it is a four-stage mission.
“The first satellite will go in the 17th minute followed soon by two nano satellites by India,” Lele said, adding that 96 satellites will be placed in their orbits.
The two Indian nano-satellites — INS-1A and INS-1B — were developed as co-passenger satellites to accompany the bigger satellites on PSLV.
India and ISRO make history
The most significant thing about the launch was the number of satellites that were carried by the rocket. Prior to this, the Russian Space Agency successfully launched 37 satellites in one go. For ISRO, it was a significant achievement, as last time in June 2015, it launched only 23 satellites in one go, according to ET.
A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of ISRO, announced, “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done.”
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the ISRO team for the successful launch.
PSLV first launched the 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite and then the 103 co-passenger satellites. ISRO used the XL Variant, which is the most powerful rocket that was used during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and in the ambitious Chandrayaan, according to ET.