INDIA SCORES TON ON SPACE

Betters Russia's record to occupy top slot on chart Prez, PM, other dignitaries hail ISRO feat
Report by: 
Agencies
Sriharikota
15 Feb 2017

Scripting history, India today successfully launched a record 104 satellites--all but three of them foreign--from here and put them into orbit in a single mission onboard its most dependable Polar rocket.

Recording its 38th consecutive success, Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) injected India's weather observation Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit in a gap of 30 minutes after a textbook lift-off from this spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai. As the country seeks a bigger slice of the multi-billion dollar space launch industry, ISRO bettered Russian space agency's feat of launching 37 satellites at one go in 2014. The previous highest number of satellites launched by ISRO in one mission was 20 in June 2015.

A majority of the satellites have earth-imaging capability while the Indian cartographic satellite is capable of taking high resolution images. Celebrations erupted among scientists at the spaceport here when the ISRO chief announced that all the satellites had been put into orbit as planned. "All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done," a beaming ISRO Chairman A S Kirankumar said. Congratulating ISRO for its feat, President Pranab Mukherjee said the daywill go down as a "landmark" in the history of India's space progaramme. In his message to the ISRO chairman, the President said: "I extend my sincere congratulations and best wishes to you and your team at the ISRO on the successful launch into space of PSLV C37, carrying a record 104 satellites. "This day shall go down as a landmark in the history of our space programme. The nation is proud of this significant achievement, which has demonstrated, yet again, India's increasing space capabilities," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO for the successful launch of 104 satellites, calling it a "remarkable feat". "Congratulations to @isro for the successful launch of PSLV-C37 and CARTOSAT satellite together with 103 nano satellites!" the Prime Minister said in a tweet. "This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation India salutes our scientists," he said. Congress president Sonia Gandhi too congratulated scientists of ISRO for the "path breaking" and "historic" launch of 104 satellites. "India has led the world in space and scientific achievements and this momentous feat by our scientists has once again made the entire nation proud," she said.

"Launch of 104 satellites by polar satellite launch vehicle PSLV-C37 has created history", Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said. 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, ISRO said. After a flawless flight, the rocket first put into orbit 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite followed by the co- passengers --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 the UAE Each nano satellite weighs less than 10 kg. The satellites were placed in the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) in a gap of about 30 minutes during a series of separations. The complex mission once again proved ISRO's capabilities in undertaking commercial launches with the PSLV achieving its 38th consecutive success. So far, ISRO has launched 226 satellites, including 179 belonging to foreign countries.

At the end of the 23-hour countdown, the shortest so far by ISRO, the PSLV on its 39th flight, blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 9:28 AM and soared into clear skies. ISRO said it was able to reduce the countdown time, which normally varies up to 52 hours, as the preparations were completed in a shorter span. Kiran Kumar said 77 of the satellites have already started communicating with the earth stations after the launch. He 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)," he told the post-launch media conference.