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Isro launches 100th satellite: A look at space agency’s ten achievements

Isro launched 31 spacecrafts in a single mission on Friday, out of which 28 satellites were foreign while three were Indian.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2018 10:16 IST
HT Correspondent
A file photo of Isro’s launch of India's eighth navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in 2017.
A file photo of Isro’s launch of India's eighth navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in 2017. (PTI)

Indian space agency Isro launched its 100th satellite along with 30 others in a single mission on Friday from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.

Thirty-one spacecrafts, including weather observation Cartosat-2 series satellite, were launched by PSLV-C40. Out of the 31, 28 satellites are foreign, while three are from India. “When the last satellite is ejected out it will become the hundredth satellite...the first century we have done. It is the maiden century. So PSLV-C40 marks maiden century of Indian satellite,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Satellite Centre Director M Annadurai told PTI.

As the space agency adds another feather in its cap, here’s a look at its ten big achievements:

Launching 104 satellites in a single mission, 2017: On February 15, 2017, ISRO garnered international attention when it launched 104 satellites using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), an Indian rocket. The launch took place at Sriharikota and successfully managed to put these satellites into their desired orbit in one go. 101 were foreign satellites out of the 104 launched. It also included the Cartostat-2 series, India’s earth observation satellite.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, 2016: The seven-satellite system created India’s very own satellite navigation system that could potentially offer services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, navigation aide for hikers and travellers, visual and voice navigation for drivers. The launch of the 7th navigation satellite brought India much closer to the ‘GPS club’. Experts said an Indian-owned system will be particularly useful in times of war to gain positional accuracy.

Launching 20 satellites, 2016: Before it made the 104 satellite record, in June, Isro launched 20 satellites in one mission, a personal best for the space agency. Apart from Isro’s own satellites and those built by university students in the country, the mission carried satellites from the US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia.

Reusable Launch Vehicle, 2016: In May, Isro successfully tested the Reusable Launch Vehicle — Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) that was built on a budget of Rs 95 crore. The winged flight vehicle — dubbed as India’s space shuttle — that glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal in a 10-minute mission was the first stage of a fully re-usable vehicle. A reusable launch vehicle can bring down launch costs by up to ten times.

Read | As ISRO readies to launch Cartosat-2 satellite today, tension builds over August disaster

Mangalyaan, 2014: India joined an exclusive global club when it successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mission on a shoestring budget that was at least 10 times lower than a similar project by the US. Only the United States, Russia and Europe have previously sent missions to Mars, but what made India’s achievement stand out was that it succeeded on its first attempt, which even the Americans and the Soviets could not. The Rs 450-crore project revolved round the Red Planet and to collect data on Mars’ atmosphere and mineral composition.

Chandrayaan, 2008: India’s first unmanned lunar probe was launched almost a decade ago and was a landmark in India’s space mission. Isro joined an elite list of just six space organisations to send an orbiter to the moon. A Tricolour was hoisted on the moon but Isro lost contact with Chandrayaan soon after.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, 1993: It was developed in the 1990s and has become the Indian space mission’s most reliable workhorse. The PSLV carried out its first mission in 1993 but its first successful outing was the next year. For the next 20 years, it launched various satellites for historic missions such as the Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan. PSLV remains a favourite among various organisations as a launch service provider and has launched over 40 satellites for 19 countries.

Indian National Satellite system, 1983:

Indian National Satellite System (INSAT), 1983: Launched by ISRO, INSAT is a series of multi-purpose geostationary satellites. It helped with telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, and search and rescue operations. The satellites built a communication system all across Asia Pacific region. There are nine working satellites in the group.

Aryabhatta, 1975: The Aryabhata spacecraft that was named after the famous Indian astronomer was the country’s first satellite. It marked a milestone in India’s space programme because it was completely designed in the country and launched from a Russian facility in 1975.Known better by its popular name Insat, the system is a network of satellites that facilitates communications and broadcasting across the south Asian region. The first satellite in the series was placed into orbit in 1983 and ushered in a revolution in India’s television and radio broadcasting, telecommunications and meteorological sectors. Nine satellites are operational.