India's PSLV-C37 scripts history by launching 104 satellites in single mission
New Delhi, February 15, 2017
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) today scripted history by launching the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 103 co-passenger nano satellites, together weighing 664 kg at lift-off, in a single record-breaking mission.
The lift-off took place as scheduled at 9.28 am from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km from Chennai in near perfect conditions. The total weight of all the satellites onboard PSLV-C37 was about 1378 kg.
After a flight of 16 minutes 48 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 506 km inclined at an angle of 97.46 degree to the equator, very close to the intended orbit, and in the succeeding 12 minutes, all the 104 satellites successfully separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined sequence beginning with Cartosat-2 series satellite, followed by INS-1 and INS-2.
After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of the satellite.
In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras.
This was PSLV's 39th flight and the 16th in 'XL' configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors). It was also the 38th consecutive successful flight of the PSLV.
The co-passenger satellites comprised 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from United States of America (USA), as well as two nano satellites from India.
The two ISRO nano satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B, carried a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments, the sources said. INS-1, weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2, weighing 9.7 kg, are technology demonstration satellites.
The 101 international customer nano satellites were launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS), the commercial arm of ISRO and the International customers.
The Cartosat-2 series satellite is similar to the earlier four satellites of the Cartosat-2 series.
The imageries from Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful 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 manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
India had, in June 2015, launched 23 satellites in a single mission but the world record was held by the Russian Space Agency, which had launched 37 satellites in one go in June 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO for the successful launch of PSLV-C37.
"This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
"Spoke to the Secretary, Department of Space and congratulated him & the entire team of scientists on today's exceptional achievement," he added.
ISRO Chairman A. S. Kiran Kumar congratulated his team on the successful launch of the 104 satellites.
ISRO Satellite Centre Director M. Annadurai said the agency planned another mission later this year to launch 100 satellites. He said GSLV missions and Chandrayaan-2 were also planned for this year.
Mission Director B Jayakumar said the launch had been a complex exercise, involving coordination with several Indian and foreign agencies. He said PSLV had so far launched 226 satellites, including 180 foreign satellites and 46 Indian satellites.
Vikram Sarabha Space Centre (VSSC) Director K. Sivan said it was the toughest mission ISRO had handled. Among other things, care had to be taken to ensure that the satellites did not collide with each other.