Over the years, India’s space research and exploration ventures have catapulted exponentially.
Well, we might not have the best technology in the world, but we do have some of the most brilliant minds who have put India on the world map among the top space agencies.
However, 2017 had a different spark about it when it comes to India’s premier space agency.
From launching a record-breaking 104 satellites with a single rocket, to putting one of the heaviest satellites in space, the Indian Space Research Organisation had a brilliant year.
Since February, ISRO has had four successful launches (and one unsuccessful!), and we look back at what really made ISRO’s 2017—3...2...1... BLAST OFF!
15 February 2017: ISRO Makes History by Launching 104 Satellites with One Rocket
ISRO kicked off 2017 with a big launch (quite literally). In one of the most complicated missions in the history of Indian space exploration, India, with the help of six other nations, launched 104 satellites into space on 15 February 2017.
Of the 104 satellites, three were Indian, 96 were from the United States, and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
With this launch, India overtook the Russian Space Agency’s record of putting 37 satellites into orbit back in 2014.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then President Pranab Mukherjee praised the efforts of scientists who pulled off a successful mission.
The main objective of the mission is to provide Remote Sensing Services, where the images sent by the satellite are used for road network monitoring, distribution of water, and creation of land use maps.
The total cost of the mission was around 15 million dollars (that’s way cheaper than what it took to make the movie Gravity).
5 May 2017: India Launches South Asia Satellite
Summer was just easing into the country and India was preparing for its second launch of the year. Finally, on 5 February 2017, the GSLV-F09 (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) took flight from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the company of leaders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, joined via video conferencing to celebrate the successful launch of India’s heaviest satellite.
The GSLV-F09’s main objective is to establish a smooth communication network amongst the South Asian nations by providing them with applications in Ku-band, which gives them a higher frequency range to communicate in. This will enable telecommunication, tele-education and tele-medicine, as well as mapping of natural resources.
The satellite is amongst the heaviest that’s been launched by ISRO, and weighs 640-tonne, which is equal to the weight of 200 fully-grown Asian elephants, or five fully-loaded Boeing Jumbo Jets.
Predicting weather forecasts, land monitoring, and quick response to natural disasters are some of the other benefits of the satellite.
If cooperation through land is not possible, we can be connected through space.Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
23 June 2017: ISRO Launches 31 Satellites in a Single Flight
Q. When you want to launch more than 30 satellites into space, who do you call?
Ghostbusters ! Oh sorry, I meant ISRO!
Yes, that’s the kind of year the Indian Space Research Organisation was having. After launching 104 satellites with one rocket, launching 31 was a walk in the park.
The PSLV-C38 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) was a 995 kilogram rocket that comprised 31 satellites from countries like the US, UK and Germany.
Apart from cartographic applications, the satellite is also being used for monitoring roads and keeping track of water distribution.
Post this launch, the total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV stands at 48.
29 July 2017: Another Indian Communication Satellite Enters Orbit
The GSAT-17 became the 18th communication satellite to be put in space by ISRO, as it joined a fleet of the 17 India satellites already circling the planet. The GSAT-17 has been designed for an operational lifespan of about 15 years.
The rocket comprises multiple satellites, of which the ‘Hellas Sat 3’s main objective is to deliver direct-to-home and telecom services. The total cost of the mission was Rs 1,013 crore, including the launch fee.
On the other hand, the ‘Inmarsat-S EAN’ component plays the role of providing the satellite portion of Inmarsat's new European Aviation Network.
ISRO’s is all geared up to make 2018 a special year as well.
Amongst an array of missions like the Chandrayaan-2, which it plans to launch in the month of March 2018, there are also plans to launch at least one mission every month!
We are planning to have at least one launch mission a month in 2018 to deploy satellites in the earth’s orbit for various applicationsAS Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO
With such a busy schedule for 2018, ISRO is really making it tough for its competitors to keep up. Rest assured that India’s space exploration agency is flying high.
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