The Indian Space research Organisation (Isro), India's state-run space agency, is aiming for a world record with the planned launch of 83 satellites, including two Indian satellites on a single rocket, sometime during the first quarter 2017, a top official of Antrix Corporation, Isro's commercian arm, said.
Within the launch set for the first quarter of 2017, India will overtake current leaders in the space launch industry Russia and the United States in the number of satellites launched using a single launch vehicle.
Russia holds the record for the largest number of satellites placed into orbit in one launch with the placing of 37 satellites in 2014, followed by the United States, which launched 29 satellites in one go.
India's previous record was the launch of 20 satellites in June this year.
The Antrix Corp official said the space agency's order book stands at Rs500 crore while negotiations are on for launch order for another Rs500 crore.
"During the first quarter of 2017 we plan to launch a single rocket carrying 83 satellites. Most foreign satellites are nano satellites," reports quoting Rakesh Sasibhushan, chairman and managing director of Antrix Corporation said.
All the 83 satellites will be put in a single orbit and hence these will be ejected in succession without changing the orbit, he added.
The challenge for Isro will be ejecting so many satellites into the same orbit while the rocket is in motion or to slow the rocket to give enough time for release of all 83 satellites, most of them nano satellites.
With the total payload of around 1,600 kg, Isro will be using its old workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) rocket variant, for the record launch, according to Sasibhushan.
Isro, meanwhile, is conducting high-altitude tests with its own cryogenic engine that is expected to power the heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV Mk III).
The GSLV Mk III, which has a carrying capacity of around four tonnes, is scheduled to be flown in January 2017.