Sriharikota, Feb 7: India is all set to script history on February 15 by launching a record 104 satellites at one go. The launch will take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Out of the total 104 earth-observation satellite, three are Indian satellites, 88 satellites are from the United States and the remaining ones are from other countries including Germany, Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. The combined weight of the 100 foreign satellites will be about 820 kg. The three Indian satellites are Cartosat-2 series weighing 730 kgs as primary payload, INS-IA and INS-1B, weighing 30 kgs.Also Read - ISRO’s PSLV-C51 Rocket Set to Blast Off on Sunday Carrying Bhagavad Gita, PM Modi’s Photo | Countdown Begins
This launch will be marked in history as India’s greatest achievement. No other space research agencies have made such an attempt to launch these many satellites through a single rocket. Earlier, India had launched 20 satellites in one shot in June 2016 while a Russian rocket had launched 37 satellites on 19 June 2014 and NASA had launched 29 satellites on 19 November 2013. Also Read - New Satellite To Carry PM Modi's Photo And Bhagavad Gita To Space, 25000 Citizens Given Pass
Renowned scientist G Madhavan stated that it is no big deal to launch 103 satellites as the nation has already proved such capability. As per IANS report, the constellation of 88 small satellites, weighing 5 kg each, of the US earth observation firm Planet will be separated from the rocket in different directions to avoid them colliding when being deployed in the orbit. It was informed that the satellites will be in the same orbit with distance between them increasing due to their relative velocities. Also Read - RISAT-2BR1: Satellite Successfully Placed in Space, ISRO Releases Video From Launch
To avoid collision in the orbit, the constellation of 88 satellites of the US earth observation firm Planet would be separated from the rocket in different directions. Reports stated that at an altitude of 500 km, the spacecraft will take about 90 minutes to complete one polar orbit over the earth. “The satellites will be injected into the sun synchronous orbit at different slots at different angles and at different times,” added the official.
“We have tentatively decided to launch the satellites at one go around 9 a.m. into the sun-synchronous orbit, about 500 km above the earth,” an official from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official told IANS. “The countdown will begin 48 hours before the lift off after the launch authorization board gives final clearance for the mission keeping in view the weather conditions and other preparedness at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre,” another ISRO official said. Meanwhile, ISRO chairman, A.S. Kiran Kumar on 11 January said that by launching 104 satellites together ISRO is trying to maximize our workhorse rocket’s capability and optimally utilise it for maximum return on investment.