On this day in history: ISRO launched the highest number of satellites on a single rocket, Musk's SpaceX surpassed it
Highest number of satellites launched on a single rocket: On 15 February 2017, ISRO made a world record by successfully launching the highest number of satellites on a single rocket, thereby breaking Russia's record of 37 satellites aboard the Dnepr rocket in a single flight in 2014.
Four years later, Elon Musk's Space X outclassed it by launching 143 satellites in one go, a world record that the space company holds to date.
Let's take a look at both the records at different points in time through the below article.
ISRO's 104 Satellite Launch
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a record 104 satellites aboard PSLV-C37 from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota. Of the said satellites, Cartosat-2, INS-1 and INS-2 were from India while the remaining 101 co-passenger satellites were from the USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).
The total weight of all the satellites onboard PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg. PSLV-C37 lifted off at 9:28 a.m. and after a flight of 16 minutes 48 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 506 km inclined at an angle of 97.46 degrees to the equator (very close to the intended orbit).
The satellites in the succeeding 12 minutes were separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined sequence beginning with the Cartosat-2 series satellite, followed by INS-1 and INS-2.
PSLV-C37 / Cartosat -2 Series Mission Successfully Launched all 104 Satellites— ISRO (@isro) February 15, 2017
SpaceX Record Satellite Launch
Elon Musk's SpaceX surpassed ISRO's record by successfully launching 143 satellites aboard Falcon 9 into space on 24 January 2022. Of these, the Transporter-1 mission carried 133 commercial and government spacecraft intended for Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) launch, and 10 of SpaceX’s own Starlink satellites — the first lot in the constellation to be deployed in the polar orbit.
Falcon-9 lifted off at Cape Canaveral in Florida at 8:31 p.m. and flew over India. This marks SpaceX's SmallSat Rideshare Program that enables small-satellite customers to book a ride to orbit with SpaceX directly.
The satellites were separated in more than a minute and the deployment of the satellites in a predetermined sequence took 90 minutes.
Falcon 9 launches 143 spacecraft to orbit — the most ever deployed on a single mission — completing SpaceX’s first dedicated SmallSat Rideshare Program mission pic.twitter.com/CJSUvKWeb4— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 25, 2021
Prior to SpaceX and ISRO, Russia's space agency held the record of the highest number of satellites launched into space.
Also Read | List of Indian Satellites