ISRO plans to launch 104 satellites on a single mission
The Indian Space Research Organization will make history when it sends 104 satellites into orbit on its PSLV-C37 rocket. Only three among these are Indian satellites.
This is ISRO’s first mission of 2017, in which a single US company has booked a record 88 CubeSat’s out of a total 104 satellites that will be launched.
ISRO’s workhorse PSLV will carry a remote sensing satellite of the Cartosat-2 series and two small spacecraft’s for ISRO, rest will be foreign commercial satellites.
88 CubeSat’s by a U.S Earth imaging company:
- CubeSat’s are a class of research spacecrafts called nanosatellites. The term “CubeSat” was coined to denote Nano-satellites that adhere to standards prescribed in the CubeSat design specification. The CubeSat specification aims to achieve several high-level goals.
- CubeSat forms a cost-effective independent means of getting a payload into orbit. Simplification of the infrastructure makes it possible to design and produce a workable satellite at low cost.
- The 88 CubeSat’s are part of Planet’s Earth observation constellation of 100 satellites. They weigh around 5 kg each and are called ‘Doves’ or Flock 3p. The 88 Doves would be released in sets of four CubeSat’s.
Cartosat-2 & INS-1:
The main passenger on PSLV-C37 is the fourth satellite of the Cartosat-2 series which is a very high resolution Earth observation satellite weighing about 650 kg and occupies roughly half the space in the launch vehicle. Two more Indian Nano-satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B, each weighing about 10 kg will be part of the mission. They have a short lifespan of six to 12 months.
Other Satellites part of the mission:
The other co-riders are CubeSat’ from Israel, the UAE, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. They will be released separately into their orbits at around 500 km from Earth.
Significant launches in 2017:
- GSLV launches powered with an indigenous developed cryogenic engine are planned. ISRO had earlier crossed another milestone when it launched its first 2000-kg-plus satellite on an indigenously built launch vehicle. The launch was significant not only because it was the heaviest satellite that was ever flown from Indian territory, but also as it was the second successful flight of the GSLV powered by an indigenously developed cryogenic engine. ?
- The previous successful flights of GSLV used Russian made cryogenic engine. ISRO’s earlier attempts to use its own cryogenic engine for powering GSLV’s resulted in failure.
- There are also many PSLV launches planned over the course of the year
- The final mission for the year will see TeamIndus from India ridesharing on the same PSLV in an attempt to bag the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Significance of the launch for ISRO:
Although the launch of 104 satellites by ISRO in a single launch will shatter previous records. ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar remarked that the agency is interested in boosting capacity as against setting records.
With its recent accomplishments, India has earned international acclaim for its ambitious space programme, which includes communication satellites, launch vehicles, and one of the world's largest constellation of remote sensing satellites. .