Why ISRO’s Mission to launch 103 Satellites is a big one?

Indian space agency ISRO is aiming for a world record by putting into orbit 103 satellites in one go using its workhorse PSLV-C37 in the first week of February. The launch will be a major feat in country’s space history as no exercise on this scale has been attempted before. Out of the 103 satellites to be launched, as many as 100 satellites belong to foreign nations, including the US and Germany. Last year, ISRO launched 22 satellites at a go and this launch will have almost five times the number of crafts.

The space agency had earlier planned a launch of 83 satellites in the last week of January, of which 80 were foreign ones. But with the addition of 20 more foreign satellites, the launch was delayed by a week and will now take place in the first week of February. However, the number of countries that would launch its satellites in this mission is still not clear, but it includes nations like the US and Germany.

With the launch of over 100 satellites at one go, the ISRO is making a century. These will be 100 micro-small satellites, which will be launched using a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)- C37. The weight of the payload will be 1350 kgs, of which 500-600 kgs will be the satellite’s weight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet South Asian satellite project will take off in March. The South Asian satellite which is part of GSAT-9, will be launched in March this year. The communication satellite that was to be launched in December 2016, was slightly delayed as some other satellites are to be launched before that. Talks with Afghanistan to have the country onboard for the project are in its final stages. Envisaged as a gift to its neighbours, the project, earlier known as SAARC satellite, faced stiff resistance from Pakistan. The neighbouring country wanted it to be launched under the aegis of the South Asian regional forum. It later backed out of the project. Apart from India, the satellite will benefit Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

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