Sriharikota (AP), Feb 15 Space agency ISRO today scripted history by successfully launching 104 satellites, including India's weather observation Cartosat-2 Series, in a single mission onboard its dependable Polar rocket from here.
Bettering Russian space agency's feat of launching 37 satellites in a single mission in 2014, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) injected the Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit after a textbook lift-off from this spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.
The previous highest number of satellites launched by ISRO in one mission was 20 in June 2015, the agency 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO for the successful launch, saying, "This remarkable feat by isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists."
The complex mission has 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 agency's trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, 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 upto 52 hours, as the preparations were completed in a shorter span.
After a flawless flight, the rocket first orbited 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 UAE.
The satellites were placed in the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) in a gap of about 30 minutes during a series of separations.
A beaming ISRO Chairman A S Kirankumar announced that "All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done." 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.
Replying to a question, he said US firms approach ISRO for launch of smaller satellites as the frequency of PSLV launches was more by India.
Project Director B Jayakumar said ISRO had lived up to the expectation of customers.
"It was a very good learning experience for us. We have launched 226 satellites out of which 179 are from foreign nations."
With a total payload of 1378 kgs, ISRO opted for the most powerful XL variant of the PSLV for the 16th time in today's mission. It had earlier been used in the 'Chandrayaan' and the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) among others.
The nano-satellites belonging to international customers were launched as part of their arrangement with the Antrix Corporation Ltd (ANTRIX) the commercial arm of the ISRO.
CARTOSAT-2 Series satellite was similar to the earlier four satellites in the Series.
INS (ISRO Nano Satellite) 1A and 1B carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments.
Proud moment for nation: PM on launch of 104 satellites
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed scientists for the successful launch of 104 satellites on board a single rocket from the spaceport of Sriharikota.
ISRO chief A S Kiran Kumar said at the mission control centre at Sriharikota that the Prime Minister has congratulated the space agency team for the successful launch.
"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.
Indian Space Research Agency this morning successfully launched a record 104 satellites on a single rocket from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
Landmark day in India's space mission: Prez on ISRO launch
President Pranab Mukherjee todaycongratulated ISRO for the record launch of 104 satelliteson a single rocket, saying the day will go down as a"landmark" in the history of India's space progaramme.
In his message to Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar, the President said: "I extendmy sincere congratulations and best wishes to you and yourteam 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 ofour space programme. The nation is proud of this significantachievement, which has demonstrated, yet again, India'sincreasing space capabilities," he said.
The President asked Kumar, also the Secretary of theDepartment of Space, to convey his greetings to the members ofhis team of scientists, engineers, technologists and allothers associated with this "great mission."
"I urge ISRO to continue to strive for the progress of ourspace capabilities. I wish all your future endeavours greatsuccess," Mukherjee said.
ISRO this morning successfully launched a record 104satellites on the workhorse PSLV-C37 from the Sriharikotaspaceport in Andhra Pradesh.