- Out Of the 104 satellites ISRO launched today, three are Indian and 101 are foreign and smaller satellites.
- A whopping 96 satellites are from the US alone.
- The famously frugal ISRO hopes to set an enviable benchmark for the space fairing nations. In fact, in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi quipped that an Indian rocket that launched MoM (Mars Orbiter Mission) cost less to make than the Hollywood movie “Gravity“.
- ISRO sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars in 2013 at a cost of just $73 million, compared with NASA’s Maven Mars mission which had a $671 million price tag.
- ISRO is also mulling the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus. The second mission to Mars is tentatively slated for in 2021-2022 time frame and as per existing plans it may well involve putting a robot on the surface of the Red Planet.
- The Modi government is pleased with ISRO’s progress and in the recently announced annual budget it gave the space agency a 23 per cent increase in its budget.
India scripted a new chapter in the history of space exploration on Wednesday with the successful launch of a record 104 satellites+ by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in a single mission.
PSLV-C37 carrying the 104 satellites lifted off from the first launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.28am. It was PSLV’s 39th flight+. Seventeen minutes later, the rocket started placing the satellites into orbit, one by one with a time-frame of about 11 minutes.
Out of the total 104 satellites placed in orbit, 101 satellites belonged to six foreign countries. They included 96 from the US and one each from Israel, the UAE, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Kazakhstan.
PSLV first injected its main payload Cartosat- 2 series, India’s ingeniously built earth observation satellite. It was followed by two other nano satellites of ISRO – INS-1A and INS-1B. It then took less than 10 minutes for the rocket to spew out 101 passengers, which are all foreign nano satellites, as it traveled up in altitude reaching the polar sun synchronous orbit.
Russian Space Agency held a record of launching 37 satellites in one go during its mission in June 2014. India previously launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June 2015.
All about 104 ssatellites
Equipped with panchromatic and multi spectral cameras, the 664kg Cartosat-2 will provide remote sensing services similar to that of its predecessors.
Images from the satellite will be used for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man made features and various other land information system (LIS) and geographical information system (GSI) applications.
INS-1A and INS-1B are versatile and modular nano satellite bus system envisioned for future science and experimental payload. Among the foreign satellites, 88 cube satellites belonged to San Francisco-based earth imaging startup Planet. With the launch, the company has increased its fleet to 143 satellites which will soon begin capturing images of the earth’s entire landmass, including India, every day.
Eight other satellites belonging to Spire Global, US, will provide services for vessel tracking and weather measurement.