STORY: India successfully launched 104 satellites in a single mission on Wednesday (February 15), setting what its space agency says is a world record of launching the most satellites at one go.
Of the 104, 101 are foreign satellites to serve international customers as the South Asian nation seeks a bigger share of the $300 billion global space industry.
Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman, A.S. Kiran Kumar, said his team was not eyeing a record and its goal was only to improve its own capabilities.
“It is not whether we have crossing somebody else, of what they have put or what we have put as a record. It is primarily about improving our capabilities to maximize our returns” Kumar said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations on the launch conducted by the state-run ISRO that went off smoothly and was carried live on national TV news channels.
“Congratulations to @isro for the successful launch of PSLV-C37 and CARTOSAT satellite together with 103 nano satellites! This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
Modi is bullish on India’s space program and has repeatedly praised the efforts of scientists who three years ago pulled off a low-cost mission to send a probe to orbit Mars that succeeded at the first attempt.
ISRO’s low prices attracted international customers to launch 75 satellites last year from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The launch of PSLV-C37 in a single payload, including the Cartosat-2 series and 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighed over 650 kg (1,433 lb)
Out of 101 Nano satellites, 96 were from the United States and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.