The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launched 20 satellites including, India's own earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series, in one go, abord its workhorse PSLV-C34, creating a new record for itself.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off with 20 satellites, including Cartosat-2 and Google company Terra Bella's SkySat Gen-2 totally weighing 1,288 kg, at 9:26 am.
PSLV-C34, the fourteenth flight of PSLV in 'XL' configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors), was launched from the second launch pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
The 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series, which is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B, and 19 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 560 kg at lift-off were injected into a 505-km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
The PSLV rocket standing 44.4 metres and weighing 320 tonne, tore into the morning skies at 9.26 am, breaking free of the earth's gravitational pull.
The mission carried LAPAN A3 of Indonesia, BIROS of Germany, SKYSAT GEN 2-1 of US, MVV of Germany among the micro-satellites.
The Cartosat-t satellite, which was injected into the 505 km polar sun-synchronous orbit, will be brought into operational configuration, following which it will begin providing regular remote sensing services using its panchromatic and multispectral cameras.
The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications.
According to Isro, the 110-kg SkySat Gen2-1 belonging to Terra Bella, a Google company, is a small earth imaging satellite capable of capturing sub-meter resolution imagery and high definition video.
The Planet Lab's Dove Satellites are also earth imaging satellites. A total of 12 Dove satellites each weighing 4.7 kg are carried in this mission inside three QuadPack dispensers, Isro said.
The PSLV rocket also carried the 85-kg M3MSat from Canada. The technology demonstration mission is jointly funded and managed by Defence Research and Development Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.
Besides it carried the 1.5-kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University, which will collect data on greenhouse gases and the 1 kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering, Pune, which will provide point-to-point messaging services to the HAM radio community.
Commenting on the successful launch of record 20 satellites from Sriharikota, Isro said the team has accomplished a major landmark. Isro has now achieved a feat that has been surpassed only by Nasa, which had launched 29 satellites together.
On 19 November 2013, Nasa had successfully launched into orbit a record 29 satellites aboard its Minotaur 1 rocket.
Today's mission is the first time Isro will be launching more the 10 satellites with a single rocket. In 2008, Isro had launched 10 satellites using the PSLV rocket.