The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scripted history again by launching a record 104 satellites from seven different countries in a single mission on Wednesday.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying the 104 satellites lifted off from the Sriharikota launch pad in Andhra Pradesh at 9.28 am today. The figure surpasses ISRO’s personal best of sending up 20 satellites in one go. Till now, Russia held the record of launching the highest number of satellites (37) in a single mission in 2014.
Why is the launch significant for India?
India smashes all the previous records by sending the highest number of satellites to space in one mission.
The PSLV-C37 rocket is carrying an India Cartosat-2 series satellite that will be used for producing high-resolution images of the Indian landmass. It also carried two other Indian nano satellites — INS-1A and INS-1B.
Isro said the co-passenger satellites comprises 101 nano-satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from United States of America (USA), as well as two from India.
The satellites belonging to international customers are being launched as part of the arrangement by Antrix Corporation Ltd (ANTRIX) the commercial arm of the ISRO.
The satellites were launched by the PSLV-C37 rocket which was on its 39th mission.
ISRO scientists used the XL Variant — the most powerful rocket — earlier used in the Chandrayaan and during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).
The primary satellite of the mission is the Cartosat-2. Images sent by this satellite will be used coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water and creation of land use maps, among others. The Cartosat-2 Series has a mission life of five years.
ISRO had earlier planned to launch 84 satellites during the last week of January, out of which, 80 belonged to foreign countries. But later, 20 more satellites belonging to other countries were added which caused the delay in the launch.