SRIHARIKOTA, June 22 - Creating a record, India today successfully launched 20 satellites, including 17 foreign and its earth observation satellite, in a single mission from here, in a crucial step to become a key player in the multi-billion dollar space launch market.
In a precision launch, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C34) took off in clear skies from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, about 110 km from Chennai, at 9.26 am and placed the new generation earth observation satellite (Cartosat-2 Series) and 19 others in the designated polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) 26 minutes later.
Thirteen of the satellites are from the US, including the 12 earth imaging Dove satellites from Planet Labs organisation, each of which weighs just 4.7 kg, and a 110-kg earth imaging satellite called SkySat Gen-2 made by a Google-owned company. There are two Canadian satellites and one each from Germany and Indonesia.
Launching 20 satellites in a single payload is like �allowing birds to fly in space�, a beaming ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said, adding, �The PSLV C-34 has done its job.�
The ISRO had earlier sent 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008. The record for the most number of satellites launched in a single mission belongs to Russia, which sent up 37 satellites in 2014. The US space agency NASA launched 29.
The payload included devices ranging in weight from more than 700kg to as little as 1.5kg.
�We have the current generation of earth observation satellite of Cartosat 2 series,� he said, adding the ISRO had done a �wonderful job�. The Cartosat also has strategic applications. � PTI