The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday launched a record 104 satellites, including India’s earth observation satellite, on a single rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota. The rest were commercial launches for international customers, through agreements with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 blasted off at 9:28 am from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre and first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into orbit followed by the other 103 nano satellites, including 96 from the US, in a gap of about 30 minutes.
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Of the 101 foreign satellites launched by PSLV on Wednesday, 96 are from the US — including 88 from the start-up, Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based earth imaging company — while one satellite each is from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, Kazakhstan and the UAE. It managed to catch the attention of foreign media and a substantial chunk of column inches were used to highlight satellite launch.
Here is a look at how the international media reported it:
The Washington Post:
“In India’s space center on the barrier island of Sriharikota, the white-jacketed scientists held their breaths. The country’s trusty red-and-white satellite launch vehicle had lifted off moments before and blasted into orbit. Wednesday’s launch was another success for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which is rapidly gaining a reputation globally for its effective yet low-cost missions. India had already sent up dozens of satellites, including 20 in one launch last year.”
The New York Times:
“Wednesday’s launch was being watched closely by firms that place satellites in orbit, because India’s space agency charges substantially less than its competitors in Europe and North America, said C. Uday Bhaskar, the director of the Society for Policy Studies, a public policy research group based in New Delhi.India is fascinated with world records, and Wednesday’s satellite launch prompted a wave of celebratory crowing, some of it aimed at Asian rivals. Many declared it a “century,” a term for a cricketing milestone when a single batsman manages to score 100 runs in a single innings.”
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The Wall Street Journal
“India’s space agency on Wednesday launched a record 104 satellites from a single rocket as it crossed another milestone in its low-cost space-exploration program. The satellites from seven countries were carried by the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on its 38th consecutive successful flight. The mission reinforces India’s emerging reputation as a reliable and cost-effective option for launching satellites. In 2014, ISRO put a satellite into the orbit of Mars, becoming the first Asian country to reach the red planet at fraction of the cost of a similar launch in US and Europe.”
“India has successfully launched 104 satellites in a single mission, 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. Modi is bullish on India’s space programme 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. 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.”
“India has created history by successfully launching 104 satellites on a single mission, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014. All but three of the satellites are from foreign countries, most of them from the United States. The launch took place from Sriharikota space centre in south India. Observers say it is a sign that India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market. “This is a great moment for each and every one of us. Today we have created history,” project director B Jayakumar was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.An Indian cartographic satellite, believed to be capable of taking high resolution images is also on board. It is expected to be used to monitor regional arch rivals Pakistan and China. Over the past two decades, India has become a key player in the lucrative commercial space market offering a low-cost alternative.”
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The Sunday Guardian
“The Indian establishment, since the beginning, had decided that the country’s space programme would be civilian in nature. It had to overcome various challenges for establishing its space infrastructure. It did not have any experience, exposure or expertise to start a space programme. Developing a space programme was easy for other countries because they already had a developed missile programme. But this was not the case with India.The country was not in a position to support any major programme, financially. At the global level, India’s space programme has received much respect, but at the same time, when compared to other Asian space giants such as China and Japan, India has to achieve much more. Because of its failure in developing cryogenic engines, India is still not in a position to launch heavy satellites. India can undertake hardly one to two launch missions in one year, while China in 2011 undertook 19 rocket launches, thereby putting 21 satellites in space. This is helping them attract more international customers for commercial satellite launches. China is also using its space expertise for diplomatic gains. It is assisting a few African and Latin American nations (obviously because of oil and mineral interests) with their space dreams.”
“India successfully launched 104 satellites in a single mission on Wednesday, 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.”
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“India should be proud of its achievements, Chinese state media said on Thursday, pointing out gaps such as lack of a manned mission. “On the whole, India’s space technology still lags behind the US’ and China’s. It has not yet formed a complete system,” the nationalist tabloid Global Times wrote.”