Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): India on Wednesday created a world record by successfully putting into orbit 104 satellites, including the country's own Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite, in a single mission.
Recording its 38th consecutive success, ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) injected India's weather observation Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit in a gap of 30 minutes after a textbook lift-off from this spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.
The total weight of all the satellites carried on-board is about 1,378 kg.
"One hundred and four satellites have been put into orbit," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said soon after the launch, congratulating the space agency's team on its success.
Exactly at 9.28 a.m. the PSLV-XL variant rocket standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320 ton tore into the morning skies with fierce orange flames at its tail.
Gathering speed every second, the rocket raced towards the heavens amidst the cheers of the ISRO officials and the media team assembled at the rocket port here.
After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of the satellite.
"In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras", official government release said.
Of the 103 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C37, two – ISRO Nano Satellite-1 (INS-1) weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2 weighing 9.7 kg – are technology demonstration satellites from India.
The remaining 101 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).
Celebrations erupted among scientists at the spaceport here when the ISRO chief announced that all the satellites had been put into orbit as planned.
"All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done," a beaming ISRO Chairman A S Kirankumar said.
India's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, has charged about $3 million to send a satellite into space in recent years, far less than private companies. The ability to reuse components and some government subsidies contribute to these savings, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, said.
The complex, 90-minute mission "shows that India's space program has come a long way, and gained a lot more sophistication in terms of launch capabilities," he said.
The successful launch has also received from within the country and abroad. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also congratulated ISRO on the success. Science and Technology Minister Harsh has also congratulated ISRO.
Wednesday's launch was another success for the Indian Space Research Organization, which is rapidly gaining a reputation globally for its effective yet low-cost missions, Washington Post said in a repot.
India has already sent up dozens of satellites, including 20 at once last year. With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 180.