Four years after placing 10 satellites into low earth orbits, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) now set another record. On Wednesday, ISRO launched in a single rocket a total of 20 satellites, including two student satellites from Indian universities and 17 satellites of four foreign countries.
The space agency's PSLV C-34 rocket lifted off at 9.25 a.m. from the Second Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota and some 16 minutes later placed Cartosat-2 Series satellite about 505 km above the Earth's orbit. Within the next 10 minutes, the remaining 19 satellites were eventually placed in the intended orbits.
The rocket’s main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite for earth observation. This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
Chennai’s Sathyabama University and College of Engineering, Pune have also sent up one satellite each with PSLV-C34.
PM Modi in a series of tweets gave his "hearty congratulations” to the ISRO scientists for the "monumental accomplishment”. Modi also acknowledged the role of students from Pune and Chennai in making the two academic/university satellites from India (SATHYABAMASAT and SWAYAM).
The total weight of all the satellites on the rocket is 1,288 kg. Thirteen of the satellites are from USA. There are two Canadian satellites and one each from Germany and Indonesia.