India Sets Space Record By Launching 104 Satellites In One Go

First Posted: Feb 16, 2017 03:00 AM EST

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history on Wednesday by successfully launching 104 satellites in one go on a single rocket. This is reportedly the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.

According to Economic Times, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 took off at 9:28 a.m. IST on Feb. 15 from the Sriharikota space center with 104 satellites. Incidentally, 101 of these satellites belong to international customers. The first satellite to be launched was the high-resolution Cartosat-2 series from India.

"All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar said. “My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done."

The PSLV-XL variant rocket, measuring 44.4 meters in length and weighing 320 tons, has a payload capacity of more than 1,500 kilograms. The XL Variant is a powerful rocket that was earlier used in the Chandrayaan mission and Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).

Of the 101 co-passenger satellites that belong to other countries, 96 are from the U.S. and five are from the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Israel, respectively. These nanosatellites that belong to other nations were launched as part of the arrangement by Antrix Corporation (ANTRIX), which is ISRO’s commercial arm.

According to The Indian Express report, ISRO’s feat is also laudable because the PSLV-C37 cost a mere $15 million to launch, a sum that is measly compared to the $60 million spent by SpaceX or the more than $100 spent by NASA to send satellites into space. Therefore, India has the lowest cost for launching satellites into space among all the space capable countries. Furthermore, the PSLV system has been used 39 times for sending payload into low-Earth orbit. ISRO has suffered only one true failure during the maiden voyage of the PSLV rocket in 1993, among its 39 launches.

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