Lift off! India successfully launches 104 satellites from a single rocket - almost TRIPLE the previous record set by Russia

  • The rocket carried a big satellite for Earth observation and 103 'nano satellites'
  • Russia held the previous record after launching 39 satellites at once in 2014
  • India is also considering launching missions to Jupiter and Venus

In a new world record, India's space agency successfully launched 104 satellites from a single rocket this morning.

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota said India's Space Research Organisation (ISRO). 

Its famously frugal space agency is looking to gain power and prestige in the commercial space race. 

It latest achievement surpasses Russia, the previous record holders, who launched 39 satellites in a single mission in June 2014. 

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The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller 'nano satellites'

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller 'nano satellites'

INDIA'S SPACE SUCCESS 

The Indian space agency (ISRO) is well known for doing a lot on a minimal budget.

While small, ISRO is among just three space agencies whose probes have successfully reached Mars - with its Mangalyaan orbiter mission in 2013.

The latest spate of satellite launches are part of the country's drive to gain a larger slice of the lucrative commercial space launch industry. 

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carried a 714 kilogram main satellite for Earth observation and 103 smaller 'nano satellites'.

Together this weighed a combined 664 kilograms.

Nearly all of the nano satellites are from other countries, including Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and 96 from the US, said the state-run ISRO.

'All 104 satellites were successfully placed in orbit,' the Press Trust of India news agency quoted ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar as saying.

They included an Indian Earth observation satellite. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the 'remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation.'

India has been striving to become a player in the multibillion-dollar space launch market, and has successfully placed light satellites into orbit in recent years. It hopes to eventually send astronauts into space. 

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota said India's Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota said India's Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

The Indian space agency (ISRO) is well known for doing a lot on a minimal budget
While small, ISRO is among just three space agencies whose probes have successfully reached Mars - with its Mangalyaan orbiter mission in 2013

Nearly all of the nano satellites inside the rocket (pictured) are from other countries, including Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and 96 from the US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the 'remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the 'remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation'

In September 2014, India successfully guided a spacecraft into orbit around Mars. Only the United States, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency had been able to previously do that.

The business of putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is growing as phone, Internet and other companies, as well as countries, seek greater and more high-tech communications.

India is competing with other international players for a greater share of that launch market, and is known for its low-cost space programme. 

The latest spate of satellite launches are part of the country's drive to gain a larger slice of the lucrative commercial space launch industry

The latest spate of satellite launches are part of the country's drive to gain a larger slice of the lucrative commercial space launch industry

First image of the Earth by MCC of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft taken on 19 November 2013
Tyrrhenus Mons seen from the Mars Color Camera

These images of earth (left) and Mars (right) are taken from India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle would be carrying a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller 'nano satellites'

Last June, India set a national record after it successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites, including 13 from the US.

It sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars in 2013 at a cost of just £59 million ($73 million), compared with NASA's Maven Mars mission which had a £538 million ($671 million) price tag. 

Before this launch, India had already launched 79 satellites from 21 countries, including satellites from big companies like Google and Airbus. 

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota. India is competing with other international players for a greater share of that launch market, and is known for its low-cost space programme

The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota. India is competing with other international players for a greater share of that launch market, and is known for its low-cost space programme

Phobos, one of the two natural satellites of Mars silhouetted against the Martian surface, captured by the Mars Colour Camera onboard India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft

Phobos, one of the two natural satellites of Mars silhouetted against the Martian surface, captured by the Mars Colour Camera onboard India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft

This has earned India at least £125 million ($157 million), according to government figures. 

ISRO is also mulling the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus.

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has often hailed India's budget space technology, quipping in 2014 that a rocket that launched four foreign satellites into orbit had cost less to make than Hollywood film 'Gravity'. 

 

 

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