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Model of the PSLV rocket
|Mission type||Deployment of 104 satellites|
|Spacecraft||Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle|
|Spacecraft type||Expendable launch vehicle|
|Launch mass||320,000 kilograms (710,000 lb)|
|Payload mass||1,378 kilograms (3,038 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||09:28:00, 15 February 2017IST)(|
|Rocket||Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle|
|Launch site||Sriharikota Launching Range|
|Mass||1,500 kilograms (3,300 lb)|
PSLV-C37 (also known as Cartosat-2 series satellite) was the 39th mission of the PSLV program and its 16th mission in XL configuration. The PSLV-C37 successfully carried and deployed a record 104 satellites in Sun-synchronous orbit. Launched on 15 February 2017 by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, it broke the earlier records of launching 37 satellites by Russian Dnepr rocket on 19 June 2014 and of 29 satellites by NASA's Minotaur rocket on 19 November 2013. The cost of the launch was US$15 million. According to ISRO, the 101 international satellites were launched as part of a commercial arrangement between several countries and Antrix Corporation Limited, a company run by the Indian government under the Department of Space, a commercial arm of ISRO.
The PSLV-C37 was launched from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 09:28 IST on 15 February 2017. It carried a total of 104 satellites including the 714 kilograms (1,574 lb) primary payload Cartosat-2D. The launcher started placing the satellites into a polar Sun-synchronous orbit one after the other after a flight of 16 minutes and 48 seconds. It first injected the satellite Cartosat-2D at an altitude of 510.383 km, with 97.46 degrees inclination, followed by the two ISRO nanosatellites INS-1A and INS-1B. It then took 11 minutes for the PSLV C-37 to place the remaining 101 "co-passenger" satellites into their intended orbits.
Soon after separation from the launch vehicle, the two solar arrays on board Cartosat-2D satellite were automatically deployed. Afterwards, ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru took over the control of the satellite. The satellite, once brought to its final operational configuration, will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras. The mission lasted for 29 minutes.
The rocket launched 104 satellites: two nanosatellites from India, one each from Kazakhstan, Israel, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates along with 96 from the United States of America (88 Dove satellites and 8 LEMUR satellites). The three Indian satellites launched were Cartosat-2D, INS-1A, and INS-1B. The 101 satellites were launched as a part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited, the Department of Space by the Government of India, the commercial arm of ISRO, and the International customers.
The Cartosat-2D weighs 714 kilograms (1,574 lb), and its design life is 5 years. It will be used for Earth observation. INS-1A and INS-1B are technology demonstrator nanosatellites envisioned for various experiments. INS-1A carries two payloads, Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer (SBR) and a Single Event Upset Monitor (SEUM). INS-1B caries Earth Exosphere Lyman-Alpha Analyzer (EELA) and Origami Camera as payloads. The two satellites weigh 8.4 kilograms (19 lb) and 9.7 kilograms (21 lb) respectively and have been designed with a mission life of 6 months. The 103 co-passenger satellites contributed to approximately 664 kilograms (1,464 lb) making the total payload of 1,378 kilograms (3,038 lb). The total launch mass of the rocket was 320,000 kilograms (710,000 lb). Among the 96 satellites belonging to US companies, 88 CubeSats were owned by Planet Labs, a Earth imaging private company based in San Francisco, California. weighing around 5 kilograms (11 lb) each separated from the rocket in different directions to avoid collision. With the launch of PSLV-C37, Planet Labs increased its fleet of satellites to 143, which is the largest private satellite fleet in operation.
Eight Lemur-2 satellites belonging to Spire Global will provide vessel tracking and weather measurement services. These satellites have a lifespan of about two to three years and would require regular renewal.
The PSLV-C37 used the rocket engine nozzle manufactured by Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh based company Resins and Allied Productions (RAP). This is the 100th nozzle manufactured by RAP being used in a PSLV. Several components of the PSLV-C37 were manufactured by Larsen & Toubro at its advanced composite facility in Vadodara, Gujarat. The honeycomb deck panels used for mounting the heat shield and electronic packages on the upper stage of the PSLV, the antenna mount structure and the 13-metre diameter bull gear were all manufactured by L&T.
The total cost of the mission was US$15 million for the 1378 kg payloads. ISRO said that it would recover half the budget of the mission from the foreign countries whose satellites it would launch.
The imagery from the Cartosat-2D, the primary satellite carried, will be used for various land information system and geographical information system applications in India. Two Indian nanosatellites, INS-1A and INS-1B, will be used for future science and experimental payloads. The DOVE satellites by the USA will be used to photograph the earth for commercial, environmental, and humanitarian purposes. The LEMUR satellites will be used for vessel tracking and will be carrying weather measurements using GPS radio occultation. Al Farabi-1 from Kazakhstan, Nayif-1 from the United Arab Emirates, and PEASSS from The Netherlands are technology demonstrator satellites whereas DIDO-2 from Switzerland is a micro researcher satellite. BGUSAT from Israel will be primarily used for research and avionic systems.