A top official from Antrix Corporation has confirmed that the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) is planning to launch 83 satellites on a single rocket in January 2017. Out of the 83 satellites, 81 are from foreign countries and only two are from India. Antrix corporation is a wing of the Indian Space research agency, which looks after the commercial plans.
Confirming the launch program, Mr Rakesh Sasibhushan managing director of Antrix Corporation said, “We are on a mission to launch 83 satellites on a single rocket in the first quarter of 2017. Most of the foreign satellites on board are nanosatellites”.
“Antrix Corporation already has an order book which stands at Rs 500 Crore. Also, negotiations are on for launch order of another Rs 500 crore”, he added.
This is not the first time for ISRO to launch multiple satellites on a single rocket, it has done it successfully in the past in various attempts. However, there are increased challenges for ISRO in the current mission with the increased number of satellites aimed to be launched with a single rocket. The major challenge will be to hold the rocket in the same orbit, till all the satellites are ejected.
Since all the 83 satellites will be placed in the same orbit there will not be any switching on and off of the rocket. According to the reports, ISRO is planning to use its Polar satellite launch vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) for the single rocket mission. The total payload that will be carried by the rocket into space will be around 1,600 Kg.
When asked for the names of the foreign country satellites involved in the mission, the managing director of Antrix corporation refused to reveal the details citing non-disclosure agreements with the client nations. However, he hinted that majority of the foreign satellites belonged to the nations who have already utilised ISRO’s services in the past.