The Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully launched its 100th satellite into space.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off 31 satellites from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Center at 9:29 am IST. The launch marks ISRO’s first mission in 2018.
The launched satellites include the weather observation Cartosat-2 series, two more satellites from India and 28 other nations. The total weight of the liftoff was reportedly about 1323 kilograms.
"My heartiest congratulations to @isro and its scientists on the successful launch of PSLV today. This success in the New Year will bring benefits of the country's rapid strides in space technology to our citizens, farmers, fishermen etc,” tweeted Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.
“Benefits of India's success are available to our partners!” Modi stated in another tweet. “Out of the 31 Satellites, 28 belonging to 6 other countries are carried by today's launch.”
New Satellites Launched
The 28 satellites from other countries were launched as a part of a commercial arrangement made between India’s space agency and Antrix Corporation Ltd. The latest satellites will be used by India to obtain high-resolution images of the planet and for better border surveillance.
Experts have said that the PSLV-C40 is a very sophisticated surveillance tool. It will enable the government to keep a track of the progress of its infrastructure projects and also keep a better lookout on the Indian borders.
ISRO scientists have said that the images, which the satellites collect, will enable Indian security agency to keep a track of military activities in neighboring Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan.
India’s Space Program
India’s space program is reportedly one of the most cost-effective in the world. For instance, ISRO successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mission called Mangalyaan in 2014 at a cost that was just a fraction of the budget of Hollywood Sci-Fi thriller Gravity.
India’s space agency has steadily increased its satellite count and even taken to launching foreign satellites. In February 2017, ISRO set a world record for sending 104 satellites on a single rocket.
The space program budget of India is around $4 billion and Modi’s government is hopeful that the latest launches will help in improving India’s prospects of gaining an even larger share of the global space industry, which costs over $300 billion.
2018 is going to be one of the most ambitious years for ISRO as it plans to launch a minimum of one satellite every month. The space agency is also gearing up for launching its second unmanned mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 2, in March.