In yet another achievement for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), it has today launched a record 104 satellites from its space station in Sriharikota today. With this it has become first country to script history after launching the 104 satellites in a single rocket. It has already an achieved several such feats and has outdone itself and Russia which had earlier held the record for the most satellites launched in a single mission, which is 37, in 2014. Last year in June, ISRO had sent up 20 satellites in one go, its personal best.
The rocket is carrying about 3 times the satellites launched in a single mission earlier. Russian Dnepr rocket had carried 37 payloads in June 2014. Same year in January, US company Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket went to space with 34 satellites; the Dnepr had carried 32 payloads in November 2013. On June 20 last year, ISRO’s PSLV-C34 launched 20 satellites, a report by ‘The Indian Express’ has said.
The lighter and smaller satellites have made it possible for rockets to carry more of them. A number of satellites which can be loaded on a rocket is restricted only by the space available and the carrying capacity of the launch vehicle in terms of weight. However satellites have to be put together in certain configurations so as to make then ejected in orbits without disturbing the flights of others . This requires lot of engineering works.
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 15, 2017
Often rockets often use ‘container’ satellites for sub-satellites. After the container is injected, it fires the sub-satellites into their respective orbits. Both the Dnepr and Antares rockets had container satellites. In the ISRO launch, however, each satellite will be ejected independently from the rocket.
The Cartosat-2 series satellite will be the first, and the two Indian nano-satellites, INS-1A and INS-1B will follow. The other satellites, including the 88 ‘Dove’ satellites, will then be released in pairs over a period of 10 minutes. At the time of separation from the rocket, the satellites will be travelling at more than 7.5 km per second.