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PSLV-C34 Successfully Launches 20 Satellites in a Single Flight

Congratulations ISRO - Indian Space Research Organisation, launches record ISRO 20 satellites in one shot. Proud moment and Great effort by ISRO team.

In its thirty sixth flight (PSLV-C34), ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 19 co-passenger satellites today morning (June 22, 2016) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty fifth consecutively successful mission of PSLV and the fourteenth in its 'XL' configuration.  The total weight of all the 20 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C34 was 1288 kg.

After PSLV-C34 lift-off at 0926 hrs (9:26 am) IST from the Second Launch Pad with the ignition of the first stage, the subsequent important flight events, namely, strap-on ignitions and separations, first stage separation, second stage ignition, heat-shield separation, second stage separation, third stage ignition and separation, fourth stage ignition and cut-off, took place as planned. After a flight of 16 minutes 30 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 508 km inclined at an angle of 97.5 degree to the equator (very close to the intended orbit) and in the succeeding       10 minutes, all the 20 satellites successfully separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined sequence.

After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras.

The imagery sent by the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

Of the 19 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C34, two – SATHYABAMASAT weighing 1.5 kg and SWAYAM weighing 1 kg – are University/Academic institute satellites and were built with the involvement of students from Sathyabama University, Chennai and College Of Engineering, Pune, respectively.

The remaining 17 co-passenger satellites were international customer satellites from Canada (2), Germany (1), Indonesia (1) and the United States (13). 

With today’s successful launch, the total number of satellites launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 113, of which 39 are Indian and the remaining 74 from abroad.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s big mission today has seen 20 satellites launched successfully in orbit. The PSLV-C34 mission is being called as the biggest ever mission for India’s space agency.


Here are the key points to note about ISRO’s PSLV-C34 mission, which had 17 commercial satellites as part of its payload, and two from Indian academic institutions. The main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation.
1) The maximum number of satellites that ISRO has been able to launch in a single mission so far is ten. This was achieved in June 2008 when it placed those satellites into various low earth orbits. The idea behind launching so many satellites is reducing cost of the mission.
2) The rocket’s main cargo is India’s 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation. This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
3) Chennai’s Sathyabama University and College of Engineering, Pune have also sent up one satellite each with PSLV-C34.
4) The Cartosat will take more than half of the weight of all the payloads put together. The rest of the satellites weighed about 560 kg at lift–off.
5) The total weight of all the satellites on the rocket is 1,288 kg. Thirteen of the satellites are from USA including the 12 Dove satellites from Planet Labs organisation, each of which weighs just 4.7 kg. There are two Canadian satellites and one each from Germany and Indonesia.
6) According to ISRO, the 110 kg SkySat Gen2-1 belonging to Terra Bella, which is owned by Google. The small earth imaging satellite can capture sub-metre resolution imagery and high definition video.
7) The Planet Lab’s Dove Satellites are also earth imaging satellites.
8) The PSLV rocket also carries an 85 kg M3MSat from Canada.
9)  The 1.5 kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University will collect data on green house gases while the 1 kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering, Pune will provide point-to-point messaging services to the HAM radio community.
10) Till date India has launched 57 foreign satellites successfully.

Here are the latest developments:
  1. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has "done its job," said ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar.
  2. The 320-tonne PSLV C-34 carried 17 foreign small satellites from Canada, Indonesia, Germany and the US but the main passenger was a 727-kg Indian earth observation satellite called Cartosat, which can take high-resolution images.
  3. The launch also placed into orbit two Indian academic community-built satellites, Sathyabhamasat and Swayam.
  4. 13 US-made small satellites have also been placed in orbit. These include an earth imaging satellite made by Terra Bella, a Google-owned company. The 110 kg Google satellite called SkySat Gen- 2 is capable of taking very high resolution images and high definition video.
  5. The launch of the 20 satellites, weighing about 1,288 kg, cost about half of what is incurred by other space agencies.
  6. Congratulating scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "20 satellites in a go! @isro continues to break new barriers."
  7. India's Cartosat-2 Series is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
  8. Launching 20 satellites in a single mission is like "allowing birds to fly in space", the ISRO chairman had earlier told NDTV.  "Each of these small objects that you are putting into space will carry out their own activity, which is independent of the other, and each of them will live a wonderful life for a finite period for which they have been designed," Dr Kumar had said.
  9. This is the first time ISRO has launched more than 10 satellites with a single rocket. In 2008, it flew 10 satellites. Currently, Russia holds the world record for placing the most number of satellites in a single launch. Its Dnepr rocket launched 37 satellites in 2014.
  10. Till now, ISRO has launched 74 satellites for foreign vendors from about 20 countries, earning about $ 100 million in the bargain.

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