It will certainly be a proud moment for India when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will blast off no less than 103 satellites, a record number, that too on a single go in February this year. 100 out of the total 103 satellites are foreign, including the US and Germany, while 3 are Indian.
ISRO will carry out the launch in the first week of next month in a record feat which has not been attempted by any country in the world yet.
ISRO’s workhorse rocket PSLV-C37 will carry the satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
“We are making a century by launching over 100 satellites at one go,” S. Somnath, Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told a plenary session on the second day of the ongoing Indian Science Congress.
Earlier, ISRO had plans to launch 83 satellites in the last week of January out of which 80 were foreign. But then 20 more foreign satellites were added and hence the launch was delayed by a week. But now, the launch will take place in the first week of February, Somnath said.
However, he did not specify the number of foreign countries that would launch their satellites under ISRO’s mission but said it includes US and Germany.
“These will be 100 micro-small satellites, which will be launched using a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)-C37. The weight of the payload will be 1350 kgs, of which 500-600 kgs will be the satellite’s weight,” Mr. Somnath added.
Last year, ISRO launched record 20 satellites under single mission. In 2014, Russia has set a record by launching 37 satellites in a go. US launched 29 satellites, the highest number of satellites launched in a single mission after Russia.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet South Asian satellite project will kick off in March this year. M. Nageshwara Rao, Associate Director of ISRO said, the South Asian satellite will be a part of GSAT-9.
The communication satellite was scheduled to be launched in December 2016 but was delayed. According to sources, the talks with Afghanistan to have it on-board for the project are at final stages.
The project, earlier known as SAARC satellite, faced protest from Pakistan as it wanted it to be launched under the aegis of the South Asian regional forum. Pakistan later backed out of the project.
The satellite will not only benefit India but also Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.