India launches 104 satellites in a single shot


India record space launch feb2017

Taking off this week, it was the 39th flight for the country’s India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) design, with ISRO’s own 714kg Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite as its primary payload.

Sharing the ride were 103 nano satellites together weighing ~663kg. All went off into a 505km polar sun-synchronous orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

Two of the nano-stats are from ISRO, then there was one each from Kazakhstan, Israel, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

However, the bulk were from two US private companies – eight LEMURs for Spire Global and 88 Doves for Planet.

Combined with the 12 Doves already flying, the 88 will orbit as Planet’s 100 satellite ‘line-scanner’ earth photographing constellation.

The 101 international customer nano-sats were launched through commercial arrangements with Antrix Corporation – and Indian Department of Space company, and the commercial arm of ISRO.

This was the sixteenth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

PSLV is itself interesting, being a four-stage design with alternating solid and liquid propellant stages, with widely-differing technologies used in each stage.

The primary satellite, a Cartosat-2, is the fifth in the series and carries panchromatic and multi-spectral cameras. Although not stated for this one, the resolution of the panchromatic camera in earlier Cartosat-2s is thought to be 1m.

It will be used, said ISRO, for Indian cartography, including creating land-use maps, road network monitoring and water distribution monitoring.


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