Now, isro is the rocket raja

Melba UnderwoodFeb 17, 2017

The previous record for launching maximum number of satellites belong to Russian Space Agency, when they had placed 37 satellites in one single go in 2014.

Recording its 38th consecutive success, ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) injected India's weather observation Cartosat-2 Series satellite and 103 nano satellites into precise orbit in a gap of 30 minutes after a textbook lift-off from this spaceport, about 100 km from Chennai.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO for the successful launch of 104 satellites, calling it a "remarkable feat". "The successful launch is yet another feather in the cap of India's ambitious space programme that has earned a reputation of offering a reliable low cost alternative to existing global players", it said.

Of the 101 co-passenger satellites, 96 of these belong to U.S., and one each are from ISRO's global customers Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates. All but three of the satellites are from foreign countries, a lot of them from the United States. We (ISRO) started with ten satellites (on board a single rocket), then went to 18 or something; then it's 35. "Out of 101 nano-satellites, 96 were from the United States and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates". It established India's credibility as a space power and has translated into tangible economic benefits when it comes to the big business of satellite launches.

The launch of satellites yesterday "is a special achievement for L&T, as its Aerospace business unit has been closely involved with this historic effort that helped India become the only nation to launch 104 satellites in space in single mission", L&T said in a statement. Kiran Kumar, chair of the space agency, tells the Guardian, "We are just trying to maximize our capability with each launch and trying to utilize that launch for the ability it has got, and get the maximum in return".

"I've long said that the real race is in Asia", says Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor and space specialist at the US Naval War College.

"The Indian establishment, since the beginning, had decided that the country's space programme would be civilian in nature". The launch took place from Sriharikota space centre in south India.

Terming India a "key player", The New York Times said that the country is growing in the commercial market for space-based surveillance and communication.

The famously frugal ISRO now hopes to set an enviable benchmark for space fairing nations. It has not yet formed a complete system.

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