ISRO Launches Record 104 Satellites On Board Single Rocket

SRIHARIKOTA (ANDHRA PRADESH): India’s space agency ISRO launched a record 104 satellites on a single rocket from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh today. If it’s a success, India will become the first country to carry so many satellites in a single mission. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 is the star of what has been described as an incredible step for the country’s space programme. It tore into the sky at 9.28 am, breaking free of the earth’s gravitational pull with a growl. The countdown began 28 hours ago, says ISRO or the Indian Space Research Organisation.

In less than 600 seconds all 101 satellites were released into space, each travelling at the speed of over 27,000 kilometres per hour – 40 times the speed of an average passenger airliner.

India’s workhorse rocket PSLV-C37 is on its 39th mission. Among the 104 satellites are many belonging to international customers.

The main passenger is the Earth-mapping Cartosat 2 series satellite, which weighs 714 kg.The heaviest version of the PSLV is being used, weighing about 320 tonnes at lift-off and standing tall at 44.4 meters.

Small satellites belong to the US, Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates will be launched. 96 of the satellites belong to the US.88 of the small satellites named ‘Doves’ belong to one San Francisco-based company, Planet Inc. The Dove constellation will be used to image the earth at low cost.

Two ISRO-made Nano satellites belonging to international customers are also riding on the rocket. They weigh about 1,378 kg.The PSLV will first launch the Cartosat-2 and then the 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off, into the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 520 km from the Earth.

In the past, the Russian Space Agency has launched 37 satellites in one go.This will be ISRO’s second successful attempt after the launch of 23 satellites in a single rocket in June 2015.In less than 600 seconds all 101 satellites were released into space

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