NEW DELHI – India on Wednesday successfully launched a record 20 satellites with one rocket from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota.
The state-owned Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) flagship rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carried the satellites into space in a 26-minute flight from Sriharikota.
“Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has done its job,” ISRO chief A S Kiran Kumar told media after the satellites, weighing about 1, 288 kg, were placed in orbit.
The satellites included a 727 kg Indian earth observation satellite called Cartosat, which can take high-resolution images, and two Indian university satellites, Sathyabhamasat and Swayam.
Apart from the three Indian satellites, the 320-tonne PSLV C-34 put into orbit 17 foreign small satellites from Canada, Indonesia, Germany and the US
In fact, there are 13 US satellites among the 17 foreign passengers on the space flight, including an earth imaging satellite made by Terra Bella, a Google-owned company.
The 110 kg Google satellite called SkySat Gen-2 is capable of taking very high resolution images and high definition video.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the successful launch and the space scientists, tweeting: “20 satellites in a go! @isro continues to break new barriers.”
This is the first time that ISRO has launched more than 10 satellites with a single rocket. In 2008, it placed in orbit 10 satellites.
Russia currently holds the world record for launching at one go the maximum number of 37 satellites in 2014.