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Model of a rocket
Model of the PSLV rocket
Mission type Deployment of 104 satellites
Operator ISRO
Website ISRO website
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Spacecraft type Expendable launch vehicle
Manufacturer ISRO
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 2017 (2017-02-15T09:28:00) (IST)
Rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Launch site Sriharikota Launching Range
Contractor ISRO
Mass 1,378 kilograms (3,038 lb)

PSLV-C37 was the 39th mission of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) program and its 16th mission in the XL configuration. PSLV-C37 successfully carried and deployed a record 104 satellites in sun-synchronous orbits. Launched on 15 February 2017 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, it broke the earlier record of launching 37 satellites by a Russian Dnepr rocket on 19 June 2014. According to ISRO, the 101 international satellites were launched as part of a commercial arrangement between several firms and its commercial arm Antrix Corporation Limited, run under the auspices of the Indian Government's Department of Space.


The Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, imaged by a Dove cubesat two days before the scheduled, record-setting PSLV-C37 launch

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 was the 39th flight of the PSLV and the sixteenth in the XL configuration.[1] It carried a total of 104 satellites including the primary payload Cartosat-2D.[2][3][4] The launcher started placing the satellites into polar Sun-synchronous orbits one after another after a flight of 16 minutes and 48 seconds.[2][5] It first ejected the satellite Cartosat-2D at an altitude of approximately 510 kilometres (320 mi), with 97.46 degrees inclination,[1] followed by the two ISRO nanosatellites INS-1A and INS-1B.[2][5] It then took 11 minutes for PSLV C-37 to place the remaining 101 "co-passenger" satellites into their intended orbits.[4]

Soon after separation from the launch vehicle, the two solar arrays on board the Cartosat-2D satellite were automatically deployed. Afterwards, ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru took control of the satellite. "In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras," an ISRO statement read. The mission lasted 29 minutes.[5][1][4]

With this launch, ISRO created a new world record for the largest number of satellites ever launched on a single rocket, surpassing the previous record of Russia, which in 2014 launched 37 satellites using Dnepr rocket.[6][7][8]

Originally, PSLV-C37 was set to launch on 27 January 2017 with 83 satellites. With the addition of twenty more satellites to the payload, the schedule was changed to 15 February 2017.[9][10]

Payload and other parameters

  • Mass:
    • Total liftoff weight: 320,000 kilograms (710,000 lb)
    • Payload weight: 1,378 kilograms (3,038 lb)
  • Overall height: 44.4 metres (145.7 ft)
  • Propellant:
  • Altitude: 505 kilometres (314 mi)
  • Maximum velocity: 7,809.52 metres per second (25,622 ft/s) (recorded at time of Cartosat-2D separation)
  • Inclination: 97.46°
  • Period: 94.72 minutes[1]

The rocket launched Cartosat-2D and 103 nanosatellites: two 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.[1] The three Indian satellites launched were Cartosat-2D, INS-1A, and INS-1B.[11] Arrangements for the launch of the 104 satellites were made between ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Limited, under the auspices of the Indian Government's Department of Space, and the international customers.[12]

The Cartosat-2D weighs 714 kilograms (1,574 lb), and its design life is five years.[1] The two Indian nanosatellites, designated INS-1A and INS-1B, each carried two payloads from ISRO's Space Applications Centre and the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems. INS-1A carried a Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer (SBR) and a Single Event Upset Monitor (SEUM). INS-1B carried an Earth Exosphere Lyman-Alpha Analyzer (EELA) and Origami Camera as payloads.[1] They weigh 8.4 kilograms (19 lb) and 9.7 kilograms (21 lb) respectively and have been designed with a mission life of six months.[1][5] An ISRO official said: "The nano satellites are an experimental class of satellites introduced by ISRO because there are requests from academic institutions to use them for data collection. The universities do not have the knowledge to build satellites and tend to take a long time… We want them to focus on the instruments as we can provide the nano satellite bus."[13]

The 103 co-passenger satellites weighed approximately 664 kilograms (1,464 lb), bringing the total payload mass to 1,378 kilograms (3,038 lb).[1] The total launch mass of the rocket was 320,000 kilograms (710,000 lb).[1] Among the 96 satellites belonging to US companies, 88 CubeSats were owned by Planet Labs, a private Earth imaging company based in San Francisco, California.[2] Weighing roughly 5 kilograms (11 lb) each, the satellites separated from the rocket in different directions to avoid collision.[14] With the launch of PSLV-C37, Planet Labs increased its fleet of satellites to 143, which is the largest private satellite fleet in operation.[2][15]

Eight Lemur-2 satellites belonging to Spire Global are to provide vessel tracking and weather measurement services. These satellites have a short lifetime of about two to three years requiring replacement at regular intervals.[2][16]

PSLV-C37 used the rocket engine nozzle manufactured by Vijayawada, from Andhra Pradesh-based company Resins and Allied Productions (RAP). This is the 100th nozzle manufactured by RAP to be used in a PSLV.[17][10] Several components of 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 metres (14 yd) diameter bull gear were all manufactured by L&T.[18]


ISRO released a statement stating that it will recover half of the mission's cost from the foreign countries whose satellites it launched.[19]


Imagery from the primary satellite, Cartosat-2D, is used for various land information system and geographical information system applications in India.[1] Data collected by the two Indian nanosatellites—the INS-1A and INS-1B—will be used by ISRO's Space Applications Centre and the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems.[13] The Dove satellites from the US are used to photograph the Earth for commercial, environmental, and humanitarian purposes.[20] Eight LEMUR satellites, weighing 4.6 kilograms (10 lb) each, carried two different payloads, namely SENSE for vessel tracking purposes and STRATOS for atmospheric measurements.[21] Al Farabi-1 satellite built by the students of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Nayif-1 satellite built by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai, and PEASSS satellite built by an all-European consortium of Partners, are technology demonstrator satellites whereas DIDO-2 built by SpacePharma from Switzerland is a micro-research satellite.[1] BGUSAT (Ben Gurion University SATellite)[22] built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in cooperation with Ben Gurion University[1] is designed as a research satellite. The satellites objectives are to explore atmospheric and weather phenomena in the infrared wavelength by imaging atmospheric gaseous contents and atmospheric glow.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "PSLV-C37 Brochure". Indian Space Research Organisation website. Archived from the original on 8 April 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Tejonmayam, U (15 February 2017). "ISRO creates history, launches 104 satellites in one go". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "ISRO sets space record: Highlights of successful launch of Cartosat-2 and 103 other satellites". Hindustan Times. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "ISRO launches 104 satellites in one go, creates history". The Hindu. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d "PSLV-C37 Successfully Launches 104 Satellites in a Single Flight". ISRO. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Graham, William (19 June 2014). "Russian Dnepr rocket lofts record haul of 37 satellites". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 20 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Barry, Ellen (15 February 2017). "India Launches 104 Satellites From a Single Rocket, Ramping Up a Space Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "ISRO sends 104 satellites in one go, breaks Russia's record". The Economic Times. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  9. ^ "ISRO's PSLV-C37 launch scheduled for 15 February at 9:00 am". Firstpost. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "PSLV-C 37 scheduled for launch on January 27". The Hindu. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2017. 
  11. ^ Sinha, Amitabh; T A, Johnson (16 February 2017). "Indian Space Research Organisation scales 104 heights". The Indian Express. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "PSLV-C37 / Cartosat −2 Series Satellite". Indian Space Research Organisation website. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  13. ^ a b TA, Johnson (9 March 2017). "ISRO nano twins stabilise in space". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 8 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  14. ^ Balasubramani, M (15 February 2017). "ISRO sets record, launches 104 sats at one go". News Today. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Whitwam, Ryan (15 February 2017). "India sets world record with 104 satellites in a single rocket launch". ExtremeTech. Archived from the original on 8 April 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Narasimhan, T E; Krishnan, Raghu (16 February 2017). "ISRO launches record 104 satellites into orbit". Business Standard. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  17. ^ "PSLV-C 37 scheduled for launch on January 27". The Hindu. Vijayawada. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "L&T Aerospace Unit Plays Role In ISRO Launch Of 104 Satellites". NDTV. Press Trust of India. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "ISRO to recover half the cost of record breaking PSLV-C37 launch from foreign customers". Firstpost. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017. 
  20. ^ Global, IndraStra. "NEWS | India's ISRO Successfully Launched 104 Satellites in a Single Mission". IndraStra. ISSN 2381-3652. 
  21. ^ "Lemur-2". Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  22. ^ "BGUSAT – Israel's first research Nano-Satellite, built by IAI is to be launched tomorrow on the PSLV-C37 launcher from India". Israel Aircraft Industries. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  23. ^ "Israeli research nanosatellite BGUSAT to be launched this year (in Hebrew)". Israeli space Agency. January 19, 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 

External links