A single rocket launch and subsequent placing of 104 satellites into orbit has takes Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) into the record books.
ISRO launched 104 satellites including India’s Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite in a single mission from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37. The first feat came 28 minutes after launch when PSLV first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into orbit, followed by the other 103 nano satellites, including 96 from the US, in a gap of about 30 minutes. This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.
ISRO’s new feat is a massive achievement compared to what other superpowers like Russia, which had launched 37 satellites in one go in 2014, and the US, which orbited 29 satellites in 2013, have achieved. Last year, ISRO had sucessfully launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June.
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 customers in blocks in a series of separations. INS-1A and INS-1B will carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments, ISRO said
China acknowledges feat
In a rare appreciation from over the wall, the Chinese media said that India’s recent successful record launch of 104 satellites has ramped up the space race, adding that it was a wake-up call for the country’s commercial space industry. China may fast-track the commercialisation of its rocket launches after India’s success , Chinese-state run media quoted officials as saying in a report titled ‘India’s satellite launch ramps up space race’. Zhang Yonghe, director with the new technology department of the Shanghai Engineering Centre for Microsatellites, believes that India did a better job promoting its launch services internationally than China, the report said.
Launch not geared towards achieving records
the launch garnered India and ISRO massive headline grabbing spot across the world, but according to ISRO it wasn’t a feat to set any record.
“Frankly ISRO does not claim it wanted to set any record,” K. Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, which makes the PSLV and all other rockets for ISRO, told reporters over the phone.