History was created today when Indian Space Research Organization launched 104 satellites into space on a single rocket from the spaceport located at Sriharikota. The earth observation satellite of India was also amongst these. The success of this space mission has catapulted ISRO to new heights, what with having launched the highest number of satellites in a single mission.
The mission went underway today when the trusted PSLV-C37, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle took off from Sriharikota for its 39th mission at 9:28 am. It carried 104 satellites, of which 101 have been launched on the request of international clients. 96 of these belong to USA while the others are from ISRO’s international customers namely Kazakhstan, Israel, UAE, Netherlands and Switzerland.
The first satellite that was launched was the high resolution satellite of India that belongs to the Cartosat-2 series and weighs 704 kgs. This is the primary satellite to be launched and will be similar to its counterparts that were put into orbit earlier. With a mission life of five years, the objective of this satellite is to keep a close watch on the aggressive neighbors of the India like China and Pakistan. With a resolution of about a meter, the satellite will enable a bird’s eye view of the two countries. The images sent by this will be useful for monitoring road networks, regulating the coasts and land, distributing water and designing maps.
This was followed by the launch of 103 other satellites that together weighed about 664kg. These were put into the Sun Synchronous Orbit which is at a distance of 520km from earth.
The Chairman of ISRO, AS Kiran Kumar along with other top scientists closely watched the launch from the Sriharikota mission center. He later made an announcement about the successful launch of the 104 satellites and congratulated the ISRO team for the amazing, historic feat.
Ajay Lele, an official of ISRO had earlier stated that this launch would be a great step for India and would last for about 28 minutes. He added that the mission would be divided into four stages with the first satellite being launched at the 17th minute, followed by two Indian Nano Satellites. He said that the remaining satellites would be put into their respective orbits following this.
The two Nano satellites that were launched by ISRO are INS-1A and INS-1B. Weighing at 1378kg, these satellites went piggyback on the rocket. These carry payloads of four different kinds from ISRO’s Laboratory of Electro Optics System and Space Applications Center which will come in handy while conducting various experiments. Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer is what INS-1A carries as payload. On the other hand, Earth Exosphere Lyman Alpha Analyzer is being carried by INS-1B.
ISRO reported that the as soon as the Launch Authorization Board and Mission Review Readiness Committee gave their go ahead for the lift off, the countdown to launch the PSLV-C37/Cartosat 2 series satellites had begun, which was 5:28am yesterday. Following this the scientists started off with filling the rocket propellant.
With a height of 44.4 meter and weighing 320 tons, the PSLV-XL rocket when launched at 9:28 am, broke off the gravitational pull and soared into the sky with élan. It should be noted that the rocket variant used was the same as the one used during Mars Orbit Mission and that put Chandrayaan into orbit. The major significance of this launch is the number of satellites that the rocket carried. Prior to this, the Russian Space agency was the only one to have tried and succeeded in such a feat with having launched 37 satellites at one go. With today’s launch, India has become the first country to have successfully launched 104 satellites at a go and has etched its name in the pages of history.
The last time ISRO launched 23 satellites at a go in July 2015. Thus, the success of this mission is definitely a major achievement for the research center.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minster Narendra Modi congratulated team ISRO for this exemplary feat.