India has successfully launched 20 satellites in a single mission, the most in the history of the country’s ambitious space programme. They include satellites belonging to the United States, Canada, Germany and Indonesia. The launch took place from the Sriharikota space centre off India’s east coast. It is a sign that India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market.
The launch of PSLV C-34/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission took place at 9:26 am (June 22′ 2016). Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C34 is being used to carry the satellites, including India’s earth observation spacecraft Cartosat-2, from the second launch pad of the space centre.
The record for the most number of satellites launched in a single mission belongs to Russia, which sent up 37 satellites in 2014. The US space agency Nasa launched 29.
The payload included devices ranging in weight from more than 700 kg to as little as 1.5 kg. They include an Indian cartographic satellite as well as those belonging to the country’s universities and international customers – 13 satellites are from the US, including one made by a Google-owned company.
Launching several satellites in a single mission reduces cost and India has been positioning itself as a key player in the lucrative international commercial space market as an effective but low cost operator.