The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set a new record in space mission achievements after it successfully launched 104 satellites in one go from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on 15 March 2017. This was ISRO’s first space mission for the year 2017, and the most complicated mission it has ever carried out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the space agency for the historic event that significantly boosts India’s space programme. The space agency began the countdown for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)’s 39th flight on Tuesday after the Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board gave its approval for lift off. The PSLV-C37/Cartosat2 Series satellite mission included the primary satellite (Cartosat-2) and 101 international nano satellites. It also launched two of its own nano satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B.
PSLV first launched the 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series satellite for earth observation, followed by the INS-1A and INS-1B, after it reached the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit. It then went on to inject 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg, in pairs. ISRO scientists used the XL Variant – the most powerful rocket – earlier used in the ambitious Chandrayaan and during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).The successful launch set a new record for the most number of satellites – 104 – to be launched at one go. It puts a wide margin between it and the next record holder, the Russian Space Agency that launched 37 satellites in 2014.Earlier, the US space agency Nasa launched 29, while ISRO successfully launched 20 satellites in one go in June 2015.