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June 22, 2016

Important : ISRO Successfully launched 20 Satellites in a Single Mission

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today successfully launched 20 satellites, in a single mission, the most in the history of India's ambitious space programme. They include satellites belonging to the United States, Canada, Germany and Indonesia. The launch took place from the Sriharikota space centre off India's east coast. A PSLV C-34 rocket (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) lifted off at 9.25 a.m. from the Second Launch Pad in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, and 16 minutes later placed a Cartosat-2 Series satellite about 505 km above the Earth's orbit. In the next 10 minutes, the remaining satellites were placed in the intended orbits. The payload included devices ranging in weight from more than 700kg to as little as 1.5kg. It is the largest-ever number of satellites launched by ISRO.  It may be recalled that ISRO, in 2008, launched 10 satellites in a single rocket. On April 28, 2008, PSLV-C9 launched a Remote Sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A along with Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nanosatellites. 

Important Points to Note :

  • The total weight of the 20 satellites is around 1,288 kgs. Out of which 19 co-passenger satellites weigh about 560 kg.
  • India’s earth observation spacecraft Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 19 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 560 kg at lift-off would be injected into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
  • The primary satellite to be carried by PSLV C-34 rocket is similar to Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B satellites launched earlier. 
    • The imagery to be sent by the satellite would be useful for cartographic applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road networking, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System and Geographical Information System applications.
  • LAPAN-A3 (Indonesia) : The microsatellite is for Earth observation and is intended to be used to monitor land use, natural resource and environment.
  • M3MSat (Canada) : Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite is a technology demonstrator mission jointly funded and managed by Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
    • The satellite’s primary mission is to collect and study Automatic Identification System signals from low-Earth orbit.
  • GHGSat-D (Canada) : Built by Space Flight Laboratory of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, the Earth observation satellite is meant for measuring the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide and Methane).
  • BIROS (Germany) : Berlin Infrared Optical System (BIROS) is a small scientific satellite from the German Aerospace Center and its mission objective is the remote sensing of high temperature events.
  • SkySat Gen2-1 (U.S.) : Designed and built by Terra Bella, a Google company based in Mountain View, California in the U.S., the small Earth imaging satellite is capable of capturing sub-meter resolution imagery and HD video.
  • Dove Satellites (U.S.) : A total of 12 Flock-2P Earth imaging satellites are to be launched in this mission. They would be packed in three dispensers.
  • Sathyabamasat (Sathyabama University, Chennai) : The satellite aims to collect data on green house gases.
  • Swayam (College of Engineering, Pune) : The satellite aims to provide point to point messaging services to the HAM (amateur radio) community.
Note : The record for the most number of satellites launched in a single mission belongs to Russia, which sent up 37 satellites in 2014. The US space agency Nasa launched 29.

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