The Indian Space Research Organization made history as it launched 104 satellites simultaneously in about 18 minutes. Each of the satellites launched released into space travelled at a speed of over 27,000 km per hour. This is 40 times faster than an average passenger airline. This marks the 39th mission of India's workhorse rocket PSLV-C37.
Among the launched satellites, PSVL is said to be the heaviest with an estimated weight of 320 tons and height of 44.4 meters. Cartosat 2 series satellite is the main passenger weighing at about 714 kg. Most of the satellites belong to international customers. However, smaller units belong to Switzerland, Israel, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands and the U.S., which owns 96 of the satellites. Meanwhile, more than 90 small satellites named “Doves” are owned by a San Francisco-based company, Planet Inc.
The Dove constellation will provide a much affordable system to help image the earth, according to NDTV. It also added that there are two ISRO-made Nano satellites also owned by international customers. Each weighs about 1,378 kg. After the Cartosat-2 was first launched, 103 co-passengers followed into the polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, estimated at about 520 km from the Earth. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended her congratulations to all the scientists who made the successful launch possible. According to Newsweek, India was able to set a new world record with the launch of the satellites. In 2014, the Russian Space Agency has launched 37 satellites in one go.
This is ISRO's second successful attempt. The first was the launch of 23 satellites in a single rocket in June 2015. There are many countries who are planning venture into launching their own space explorations like China and Japan show both laid out bold plans in their space missions being beefed up for this year. This buzz caused speculations among science circles that the real “space race” is in Asia.