ISRO launches 104 satellites into space in single mission, India hails world record
Praise for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) came from various ministers, Bollywood stars and other eminent personalities on 15 February as the space agency created a world record by successfully putting 104 satellites into orbit.
The Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off successfully with 104 satellites, including the country’s earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series, from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday morning, IST. ISRO surpassed the 37 satellite launch record set by a Russian rocket on June 19, 2014.
The co-passenger satellites comprised 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE and 96 from the US, as well as two nano satellites from India.
“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.
At exactly 9.28 a.m. (IST) the PSLV-XL variant rocket, standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320 tonnes, 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.
At the rocket mission control room, ISRO scientists were glued to their computer screens watching the rocket escaping the earth’s gravitational pull.
Around 28 minutes into the flight, the rocket completed its birth ‘karma’ slinging all the 104 satellites into their intended orbits as per the scheduled sequence.
The PSLV rocket is a four stage rocket alternatively powered by solid and liquid fuel.
The Cartosat-2 satellite weighs 714 kg and has a mission life of five years.
“The Cartosat satellite is the fourth one in the Cartosat-2 series of earth observation satellites. Already three are in the orbit and two more will be launched. Once all the six Cartosat-2 series satellites are launched the Cartosat-3 series would begin,” an ISRO official told IANS, preferring anonymity.
President Pranab Mukherjee extended his greetings to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its team, saying: “The nation is proud of the achievement which demonstrated India’s increasing space capabilities.”
Vice President Hamid Ansari in a statement said: “This has been a history-scripting effort of launching 104 satellites in a single launch… The flawless launch underlined the efforts to make the use and exploration of space more accessible and affordable.”
In his congratulatory tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Congratulations to ISRO for the successful launch of PSLV-C37 and Cartosat satellite together with 103 nano satellites.”
Twitter handle of Congress quoted party President Sonia Gandhi as she dubbed the ISRO’s launch of a record 104 satellites in one go as “path breaking and historic”.
Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted that the launch of 104 satellites in a single mission is a glimpse of the potential Indian science holds.
“The whole world now looks at India for touching lives of people with science and technology and its philosophy of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’,” he said.
BJP President Amit shah also applauded the achievement in his tweet: “I salute our scientists for their dedication and commitment. It is an incredible step for the country’s space programme. Proud moment. Jai Hind.”
Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar wrote: “Congratulations to ISRO scientists and team for launching a record 104 satellites in a single mission. It’s a proud moment for the nation.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that ISRO’s achievements have made the country proud on many occasions. “Today’s launch is a significant milestone in India’s space history,” he tweeted.
Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Manohar Parrikar and Suresh Prabhu were among the politicians expressing their joy in Twitter over the feat achieved by the ISRO.
Cricketer Virender Sehwag also professed his national pride and excitement about the ISRO’s world record. “Ek hi baar mein poore Ek Sau Chaar (104 in just one go). Congratulations to ISRO for launching a record 104 satellites in a single mission,” he tweeted.
Celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Anupam Kher, were also among the Bollywood stars tweeting about the world record to express pride and happiness.
Amitabh Bachchan congratulated the space agency and said: “Hope one day we land on moon.”
Kher in his congratulatory tweet said: “India becomes the first country in the world to launch 104 satellites in one go. Jai Ho!”
Abhishek Bachchan, with the hashtag #ProudIndian, tweeted: “And ISRO gives us yet another reason to hold our heads up high.”
Spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Jaggi Vasudev also took to twitter to share their good wishes and greetings.