Sanjay Kumar writes: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to script history on 15 Feb 2017 with the launch of record 104 satellites in one go from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. The workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will carry all the satellites. PSLV is internationally recognized as one of the most reliable and cost-effective rockets in modern spaceflight. Last year, ISRO had launched 20 satellites at one go. The highest number of satellites launched in a single mission as on date is 37, a record set in 2014 by Russia.
The PSLV- C37 mission will also test new technologies in handling multiple payloads. This needs specialsied hardware and much calibrated separation sequence to avoid collision-free deployment of the satellites.The mission will use a video imaging system with eight on-board cameras to capture the separation of various propulsion stages and satellites.
The milestone mission will use the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to determine the orbit of each satellite injected from the launch vehicle at a height of more than 500 km from the earth’s surface. All the satellites will be released at an altitude of 510 to 524 km over a period of 600 seconds. This also signals operationalization of indigenous IRNSS (NAVIC) and shedding dependence over GPS.
The PSLV-C37 will launch Cartosat-2 (714 kg ) series satellite for earth observation and 103 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The total weight of all the satellites onboard will be about 1378 kg.
The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from USA, as well as two Nano satellites from India. As many as 88 nano satellites will be placed in orbit to form the Flock- 3p constellation by the US-based Planet Labs.
With this milestone achievement, Antrix is all set to take on the larger share of the booming space market. Antrix will now have to increase its capability and capacity to take on more and more launches per year and in doing so it will have to look for larger participation from the Private Industry.