No we are not talking about the age of ISRO here, but a record 104 is an unbelievable number of satellites launched by Indian Space Research Organisation in a single mission through their proven workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV C-37 from Sriharikota spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.
The last record was held by Russia’s Space Agency of launching 37 satellites in 2014.
ISRO launched 104 satellites out of which 2 were Cartosat-2 series satellite from India, 96 Dove and Lemur from USA, BGUSAT from Israel, Al-Farabi from Kazakhstan, PEASSS from The Netherlands, 2 DIDO from Switzerland and 1 Nayif from UAE.
As ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar declared,
“All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done. 77 of the satellites have already started communicating with the earth stations after the launch.”
He also said,
“The mission was about maximising ISRO’s returns and improving its capabilities. Through PSLV, we are trying to capture a particular segment of (space launch market).”
Project Director B Jayakumar said,
“It was a very good learning experience for us. We have launched 226 satellites out of which 179 are from foreign nations.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO team on Twitter by saying, “This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists.”
Cartosat-2 Series satellite, a remote sensing spacecraft with a five-year life span, would send images that would be utilised in coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water, creation of land use maps among others.
PSLV C-37 had a payload of 1378 kgs as it used its most powerful variant of its PSLV-XL series, the same it used in Mangalyaan and chandrayaan. After a textbook launch after a 23 hour countdown, PSLV first placed a 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite followed by ISRO’s INS-1A and INS-1B, 96 other nano satellites belonging to two US companies, and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland and UAE.
|88 Dove satellites||USA|
|8 Lemur satellites||USA|
G Madhavan Nair, India’s space scientist said, ”
This is no new technology. We (Indian Space Research Organisation) started with ten satellites (on board a single rocket), then went to 18 or something; then it’s 35. Now it’s 100. If you make 3 or 4 kg satellite, it (PSLV) can take 300 to 400 satellites at a time. This number (104 satellites) has not demonstrated any new technology; it’s a proven technology which is being used.”
He further said,
“CARTOSAT is the real thing, the country needs it; it’s the main passenger and the spare capacity (of PSLV) was used to carry this many (the remaining 103) satellites. That’s all. Certainly, it (the launch of 104 satellites on board a single rocket) is a very significant milestone as far as ISRO is concerned. Of course, the technology we have proven earlier. About 30 satellites have been launched (at one go) earlier also. It’s an extension of that. But when you count it in numbers, it’s huge. One worry is that these (103 satellites) are tiny satellites which at the best can have a life of one or two years; after that it really become space debris. Since they are small in size, they may not be amenable for tracking and finding out their positions and things like that. They become passive. To that extent, that worry is there.”
It seems that the dream which was dreamt by India’s Original missile man Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is at last coming true.
Best Luck ISRO for future missions.