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February 15, 2017

India launched record 104 Satellites in single mission

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has created history today by successfully launching a record 104 satellites, including India's earth observation satellite, on a single rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota. This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission. Previous record was held by Russia with 37 satellites in one mission in the year 2014. 

The space agency's trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, on its 39th mission, took off in the morning, at 9.28 am, today, from Sriharikota space centre with the 104 satellites, of which 101 belongs to international customers. Of the 104 small satellites, maximum number i.e., 96
belong to the United States while Israel, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the Netherlands are the other foreign clients. 
Over the past two decades, India has become a key player in the lucrative commercial space market offering a low-cost alternative. Recently, the Indian government has increased the budget for its space programme this year and also announced plans to send a mission to Venus.

Important Points to Note :
  • In about 18 minutes, all 101 satellites were released into space, each travelling at the speed of over 27,000 km per hour - 40 times the speed of an average passenger airline.        
  • India's workhorse rocket PSLV-C37 is on its 39th mission. Among the 104 satellites are many belonging to international customers.
  • This is the heaviest version of the PSLV, weighing about 320 tonnes at lift-off and standing tall at 44.4 meters.
  • The main passenger is the Earth-mapping Cartosat 2 series satellite, which weighs 714 kg.
  • The smaller satellites belong to the US, Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates will be launched. 96 of the satellites belong to the US.
  • Close to 90 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 were also launched. They weigh about 1,378 kg. The PSLV first launched the Cartosat-2 and then its 103 co-passengers into the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 520 km from the Earth.
  • PM Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists for successful launch, saying "this remarkable feat has made India proud".
  • In 2014, the Russian Space Agency has launched 37 satellites in one go.
  • This is ISRO's second successful attempt after the launch of 23 satellites in a single rocket in June 2015.
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