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ISRO’s 20-Satellite Launch, Mission Successful

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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.

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