The world watched when Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO launched record number of 104 satellites using single rocket last month. And now, the space agency is preparing to add another feather in its cap by launching two GSLVs this year.
P Kunhikrishnan, director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR, Sriharikota), the work is in progress on ISRO’s first developmental flight of GSLV MKIII that will carry a playload of about 3.2 tonne.
"Sriharikota is getting geared up in the next two months, wherein we are going to have two launches. One is GSLV F09, which is GSLV MKII version carrying nine satellites, including multi band communication and observation satellite GSAT-9,” Kunhikrishnan said. He was speaking at an event in Chennai on Thursday.
“We are also working on the first developmental flight of GSLV MKIII that will carry about 3.2 tonne payload," he added.
Till date, Sriharikota centre has acquired a particular level of status in Indian space arena by witnessing successful launches of 180 foreign satellites, Kunhikrishnan said.
The Sriharikota centre has launched 60 major missions so far that included a variety of spacecraft, launch vehicles as well as Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
In a proud moment for the country, ISRO on February 15 successfully launched a record number of 104 satellites under a single mission from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
With the launch of over 100 satellites, India has now broken the record of Russia, which previously accomplished the feat of launching record number of satellites at 37, followed by the US space agency NASA, which has launched 29.
This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in single mission. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 left Earth sharp at 9:28 am from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The rocket first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into orbit and then placed 103 nano satellites in a gap of about 30 minutes. The 103 nano satellites included 96 from the US.
In the complex mission, the PSLV-C37 placed the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite into the orbit and then ISRO’s nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B were injected in an 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
The launch of other 101 nano satellites belonging to foreign nations then took place.
Previous record holders:
ISRO had launched record 20 satellites under single mission in 2016. Russia previously held a record of launching highest number of satellites at 37, followed by the US space agency NASA, which has launched 29. And now India is on to as it has broken all such records by launching 104 satellites at a go.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet South Asian satellite project will be launched in March this year. The South Asian satellite will be a part of GSAT-9, which will be launched in March this year.
The communication satellite was scheduled to be launched in December 2016, but was slightly delayed as some other satellites are to be launched before that.
Sources said talks with Afghanistan to have the country on-board for the project is in its final stages.
Envisaged as a gift to its neighbours, the project, earlier known as SAARC satellite, faced stiff resistance from Pakistan. The neighbouring country wanted it to be launched under the aegis of the South Asian regional forum. It later backed out of the project.
Apart from India, the satellite will benefit Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.