Indian PSLV rocket lifts off with 104 satellites

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Indian PSLV rocket lifts off with 104 satellites
PSLV rocket

Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket on Wednesday morning lifted off successfully with a record 104 satellites, including the country’s earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series.

The PSLV-XL variant rocket, standing 44.4 metre tall and weighing 320 tonnes, tore into the morning skies at 9.28 a.m. with a deep throated growl breaking free of the earth’s gravitational pull.

The earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series weighs 714 kg.

The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and 96 from the United States, as well as two nano satellites from India. The total weight of all the satellites carried on-board is about 1,378 kg.

By the 28th minute of the rocket’s mission all the 104 satellites would be put into orbit.

Four-stage rocket

The PSLV rocket is a four-stage/engine rocket powered by solid and liquid fuel alternatively.

“The Cartosat satellite is the fourth one in the Cartosat-2 series of earth observation satellites. Already three are in the orbit and two more will be launched. Once all the six Cartosat-2 series satellites are launched the Cartosat-3 series would begin,” an ISRO official told IANS preferring anonymity.

PM Modi congratulates Isro for its world record.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Of the 104 satellites ISRO launched today, three are Indian and 101 are foreign and smaller satellites.

2. The space agency used the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for the launch. It carried a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller “nano satellites” which weighed a combined 664 kilograms.

3. Most of the nano satellites are from other countries, including from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the US, said the state-run ISRO.

4. ISRO today beat the record held by Russia, which in 2014 catapulted 37 satellites in a single launch, using a modified inter-continental ballistic missile.

5. Last June, India set a national record after it successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites, including 13 from the US.

6. The famously frugal ISRO hopes to set an enviable benchmark for the space fairing nations. In fact, in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi quipped that an Indian rocket that launched four foreign satellites into orbit cost less to make than the Hollywood film “Gravity”.

7. Putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is a growing business sector. That’s because phone, Internet and other companies, as well as countries, are seeking greater and more high-tech communications.

8. ISRO sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars in 2013 at a cost of just $73 million, compared with NASA’s Maven Mars mission which had a $671 million price tag.

9. ISRO is also mulling the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus. The second mission to Mars is tentatively slated for in 2021-2022 timeframe and as per existing plans it may well involve putting a robot on the surface of the Red Planet.

10. The government is pleased with ISRO’s progress and in the recently announced annual budget it gave the space agency a 23 per cent increase in its budget.

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