Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched a record 20 satellites in a single mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota this morning. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-34, carrying India’s latest earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 along with 19 co-passengers, lifted off at 9:26 AM. These satellites include those from US, Germany, Canada and Indonesia. With 20 satellites, the ISRO has beaten its previous record of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
The primary satellite in this mission is Cartosat-2. The images sent by satellite will be used for drawing maps, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring and water distribution. ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said, the mission has been a resounding success. Addressing news persons in Sriharikota, Mr Kumar said the earlier-planned SAARC Satellite would be developed as the South East Asian Satellite as Pakistan has opted out of the SAARC project. The South East Asian Satellite will be launched in the window period between December to March. He also said, the ISRO is willing to help institutions in developing their own small satellites based on a selection process and a new scheme will be announced to that effect very soon.
Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Kunhikrishnan said, PSLV is proving its ultimate reliability with the success of its 36th flight today which is 35th continuously successful one. It is a historic double record for the ISRO’s proven workhorse PSLV C34 today. It has inserted a record number of 20 satellites into space and also proved to be reliable for double ignition while in space to take multiple satellites into different orbital heights in a single mission. Earlier, ISRO used to have an exclusive launch mission for putting satellites in the same orbital height.
For varying orbital heights, different launch missions were needed. But today’s success with the re-ignition experiment has given confidence to launch payloads into different heights in a single launch. The PSLV in its category thus proves to be one of the most sophisticated and highly versatile launch vehicles in the world in its class and set to garner a large pie of the global launch market, apart from boosting the image of the nation.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated ISRO on the launch. In his message, Mr Mukherjee said, the nation is proud of the achievement which has demonstrated, yet again, India’s increasing space capabilities. He said, images received from the Cartosat-2 satellite will be useful in providing scene-specific spot imagery that can be used for detailed mapping and other cartographic applications as well as applications in Land Information System and Geographical Information System.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, the country’s space programme has time and again shown the transformative potential of science and technology in people’s lives.
Terming the launch as a monumental accomplishment, Mr Modi said, over the years, India has developed expertise and capability to help other nations in their space initiatives and this is the skill of the Indian scientists.
Mr Modi expressed happiness to see the youngsters excelling and taking so much interest in science. The Prime Minister said, he is touched that students from institutions in Pune and Chennai played a role in the making of satellites.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has also congratulated ISRO for the achievement. In a tweet, Mr Rathore praised the ISRO team for devising novel engineering technology to make this possible.