At a stroke, PSLV C-34 lobs 20 satellites into orbit

They include two student satellites from Indian universities and 17 of four foreign countries.

June 22, 2016 08:10 am | Updated November 17, 2021 05:01 am IST

The rocket’s main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite, to be used for Earth observation. Photo: V. Ganesan

The rocket’s main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite, to be used for Earth observation. Photo: V. Ganesan

In one go, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday launched 20 satellites. They include two student satellites from Indian universities and 17 of four foreign countries.

A PSLV C-34 rocket lifted off at 9.25 a.m. from the Second Launch Pad in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, and 16 minutes later placed a Cartosat-2 Series satellite about 505 km above the Earth's orbit. In the next 10 minutes, the remaining satellites were placed in the intended orbits.

Soon after the launch, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said, "With this mission, we have launched the current generation Earth observation satellite along with 17 satellites from foreign countries."

Satish Dhawan Space Centre Director P. Kunhikrishnan said it was a "major milestone" for ISRO to launch 20 satellites in a single mission.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the space agency, describing the launch as an “monumental” accomplishment.

“20 satellites in a go! @isro continues to break new barriers. Hearty congratulations to our scientists on the monumental accomplishment’, he said on Twitter.

The 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 would be used for Earth observation. According to ISRO, the imagery sent by the satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation and utility management like road networking.

It may be recalled that ISRO, in 2008, launched 10 satellites in a single rocket. On April 28, 2008, PSLV-C9 launched a Remote Sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A along with Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nanosatellites.

In 2014, Russia launched 37 satellites in a single mission.

Two cross sectional views of PSLVC34 payload. Photo: MIB

PSLV performs tricky experiments

PSLV C-34, besides putting 20 satellites in orbit, performed two tricky experiments of the same nature. Fifty minutes after the satellites were injected into the orbit from the fourth stage of the vehicle, the rocket's engine was re-ignited for five seconds. Then it was shut down for 50 minutes and re-ignited for another five seconds, according to K. Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. >Continue reading...

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(With inputs from news agencies)

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