Satellites

ISRO to launch 83 satellites on single rocket, create world record

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MUMBAI: The Indian space agency ISRO, in a move to set a world record, is planning to put into orbit 83 satellites -- two Indian and 81 foreign -- on a single rocket in early 2017, said a top official of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The official said the company's order book stands at Rs 500 crore while negotiations are on for launch order for another Rs 500 crore.

Antrix Corporation chairman-cum-managing director Rakesh Sasibhushan told IANS that, during the first quarter of 2017, ISRO planned plan to launch a single rocket carrying 83 satellites. Most foreign satellites were nano satellites, he said.

He said all the 83 satellites will be put in a single orbit and hence there will not be any switching off and on of the rocket. The major challenge for the proposed mission is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the satellites are ejected. He said ISRO will use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) rocket variant for the record launch.

For ISRO, launch of multiple satellites at one go is not a new thing as it has done it several times in the past. According to Sasibhushan, the total payload/weight carried off into space by the PSLV-XL rocket will be around 1,600 kg.

Meanwhile, ISRO 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 has a capacity to carry around four tonnes of load. The rocket is scheduled to be flown in January 2017.

The GSLV Mk III rocket is expected to save precious foreign exchange for India as it pays to launch heavier satellites through foreign space agencies.

ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the agency is looking forward to develop four-tonne communication satellites that will give the same output as a six-tonner.

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