The Indian Space Research Organisation has just made “one launch” story by undisputedly sending 20 satellites in one go into the orbit. Quite succesfully, ISRO has managed in making it the largest satellite launch in the history of this space agency.
One thing is for sure that, this broad attempt of ISRO, has very much contributed in consolidating India’s position in global space market. Also, this launch has brought them a lot closer to NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency launch standards. The earlier launch record holds 10 satellites in one go.
Among all, ISRO’s 725.5-Kg. Cartosat-2 satellite will do the chief task of earth observation, just like NASA’s Landsat program. Among rest in the bulk, 17 were of commercial nature, used for enhancing TV signal quality and weather forcasts.
Explaining their purpose and assuring about their durability ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, “Each of these small objects that you are putting into space will carry out their own activity, which is independent of the other, and each of them will live a wonderful life for a finite period.”
“After each satellite is injected into orbit, the vehicle will be re-oriented if required and the next satellite will be put into orbit with a varying velocity so that the distance between the satellites grows monotonically,” Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director, K. Sivan, said to T. S. Subramanian from The Hindu. Further he continued, “We will do this to ensure that there is no collision of satellites.”
“Then, after a huge gap of 3,000 seconds, PS-4 [the fourth stage] will be re-ignited for 5 seconds,” Sivan explained. “Then, it will be switched off for another 3,000 seconds. It will be re-ignited for another 5 seconds.”
The launch news is so grand for ISRO as it not only brings them the chances of launching for some foreign companies but also makes them a fair participent as space agency by bringing them closer to NASA’s 29 launch in 2013 and Russia’s 33 satellite launch in 2014.
“India is attracting key foreign players, most importantly the US, in the space market thanks to its cost-effectiveness and credibility,” told expert Ajay Lele, who is a senior person at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, but not a part of launch operation.
While the 7 satellites were from Germany, Canada and Indonesia, the other 13 of the 20 satellites were from Terra Bella and some other US-based companies.
The mission is called PSLV-C34 and they owned it for much lesser amount of money, comparing to other agencies, but no exact number has been revealed. The satellites weighed around 1288 kilograms(2863 pounds) in total.
ISRO not only is focusing on frugal operations, just in previous month the agency considered a former shuttle for testing in order to make it possible for a reuse for astronauts.
From many recent past years, The ISRO is quite upfront in becoming a prominent participent on the space operations, joining the grades of NASA, SpaceX, and Blue Origin.