India Has Launched 20 Satellites Into Orbit in 26 Minutes Setting a New Record

June 23, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

India's satellite launch on June 22
Photo credit: Indian Space Research Organisation

Well-done India!

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has made history by sending 20 satellites into orbit with one rocket launch. The launch, which was the largest in ISRO’s history, surpassed their previous record that saw 10 satellites delivered into orbit with one mission. Although Russia still holds the international record for a total of 33 satellites in a single launch, followed closely by America with 29, India has now solidified their place as a force to be reckoned with in the international space market.

SEE ALSO: India Successfully Launched a Mini Space Shuttle Prototype​

The rocket, carrying the 20 satellites, was launched from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, on June 22. Most of the satellites were for commercial companies from the US, Canada, Germany, and Indonesia. One of the satellites was from a Google-owned company and two came from Indian universities. The satellites are intended to observe and measure the earth’s atmosphere, although one aims to provide services for an amateur radio station.

"Each of these small objects that you are putting into space will carry out their own activity, which is independent of the other, and each of them will live a wonderful life for a finite period," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman A.S Kiran Kumar, told the NDTV news network.

The PSLV-C34 mission responsible for ‘injecting’ the satellites into orbit wasn’t an easy task to pull off. Each satellite had to be ‘injected’ into orbit at an exact distance from one another to prevent future collisions.

"After each satellite is injected into orbit, the vehicle will be re-oriented if required and the next satellite will be put into orbit with a varying velocity so that the distance between the satellites grows monotonically," Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director, K. Sivan, told T. S. Subramanian from the Hindu. "We will do this to ensure that there is no collision of satellites."

"Then, after a huge gap of 3,000 seconds, PS-4 [the fourth stage] will be re-ignited for 5 seconds," Sivan continued. "Then, it will be switched off for another 3,000 seconds. It will be re-ignited for another 5 seconds."

The successful mission lasted only 26 minutes and has brought India closer in rank to the major players on the space front. Last month, India launched a mini space shuttle that placed them in the race to produce their own reusable rockets. Now, with another successful launch, brings increased excitement for further missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

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