Marking yet another achievement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully launched and placed into orbit a record 104 satellites, including 101 foreign ones, from the spaceport here.
Significantly, India has surpassed Russia’s record by launching 104 satellites in one go.
Here are the key facts that you need to know about the launch and why it is significant:
1. India beat Russia, which launched 39 satellites in one go in 2014. ISRO had earlier launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June 2015 setting a national record.
2. This achievement puts India in a leading position globally as a one-stop shop for global satellite players.
3. The PSLV rocket is a four stage rocket alternatively powered by solid and liquid fuel. The XL Variant, the most powerful rocket, which was used in the ambitious Chandrayaan and during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), has been used by ISRO scientists this time as well.
4. PSLV first launched the 714 kg CARTOSAT-2 Series satellite for earth observation, which was followed by the injection of 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 520 km from Earth.
5. The Cartosat-2 satellite has a mission life of five years and 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.
6. ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan said, "It is one of the toughest missions we have handled."
7. Interestingly, out of the 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 belong to USA, five from international customers of ISRO including Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.
8. Two Indian Nano satellites, together weighing about 1,378 kg, were also carried. The two Indian Nano-satellites INS-1A and INS-1B were developed as co-passenger satellites to accompany bigger satellites on PSLV. The primary objective of INS (ISRO Nano Satellite) is to provide an opportunity for ISRO technology demonstration payloads, provide a standard bus for launch on demand services.
9. These two satellites 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.
10. ISRO’s original plan was to launch 83 satellites in the last week of January out of which 80 were foreign ones. But later, 20 more satellites belonging to foreign countries were added due to which the launch was postponed.