ISRO had commenced the 28-hour countdown for the single mission launch on Tuesday. With this launch, India is all set to script history by becoming the first country to launch more than 100 satellites at one go.
ISRO said that the Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board gave its go ahead for the launch following which countdown for the launch of PSLV-C37/Cartosat2 Series satellite mission kicked off at 5:28 am.
The filling of the propellant for the rocket was also commenced by the scientists, it said. The 104 satellites will be carried by ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, which will be going on its 39th mission.
Why is this launch significant for India?
This launch is significant for India because if it turns out to be successful, it will be a record-breaking feat for the country. Also, ISRO is making second successful attempt after the launch of 23 satellites in one go in June 2015.
PSLV will first launch the 714 kg CARTOSAT-2 Series satellite for earth observation, which will be followed by the injection of 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 520 km from Earth.
The XL Variant, the most powerful rocket, which was used in the ambitious Chandrayaan and during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has been used by ISRO scientists this time too.
While 96 co-passenger satellites belong to USA, five from International customers of ISRO — Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, respectively.
Two other Indian nano satellites, together weighing about 1,378 kg, will also be carried by the rocked. Antrix Corporation Ltd (ANTRIX) the commercial arm of the ISRO has made arrangements for the nano-satellites belonging to international customers.
Cartosat-2 Series, which is the primary satellite, will be similar to the earlier four satellites in Cartosat-2 Series. Cartosat-2 Series has a mission life of five years.
It will provide remote sensing services after coming into operation. Images sent by it will be useful for coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water and creation of land use maps, among others.
The two Indian Nano-satellites INS-1A and INS-1B were developed as co-passenger satellites to accompany bigger satellites on PSLV.
The primary objective of INS (ISRO Nano Satellite) is to provide an opportunity for ISRO technology demonstration payloads, provide a standard bus for launch on demand services.
INS-1A carries Surface Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function Radiometer and INS-1B caries Earth Exosphere Lyman Alpha Analyser as payloads.
ISRO will launch all the 104 satellites at one go on Wednesday, February 15 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The satellites will be blasted off at 9:28 hours IST from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
How to watch live:
The launch of PSLV-C37/Cartosat-2 Series along with 103 co-passenger satellite can be witnessed live from Sriharikota on Feb 15,2017, beginning at 9:00 hrs a.m (India time).
The launch will be telecasted live on Doordarshan and webcast on ISRO's website from 09:00 hrs onwards.
Some facts about ISRO's mega-launch:
1. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) will carry 103 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on February 15.
2. 100 out of the total 103 satellites are foreign, including the US and Germany, while 3 belong to India.
3. S Somnath, Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of ISRO, says the space agency is making a century by launching more than 100 satellites at one go.
4. Earlier, ISRO had plans to launch 83 satellites in the last week of January out of which 80 were foreign ones. But later, 20 more satellites belonging to foreign countries were added due to which the launch was postponed.
5. The 100 satellites will be micro-small satellites and will be launched using a PSLV-C37. The weight of the payload will be 1350 kgs, of which 500-600 kgs will be the satellite's weight.
Previous record holders:
ISRO had launched record 20 satellites under single mission in 2016. Russia holds a record of launching highest number of satellites at 37, followed by the US space agency NASA, which has launched 29.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet South Asian satellite project will be launched in March this year. The South Asian satellite will be a part of GSAT-9, which will be launched in March this year.
The communication satellite was scheduled to be launched in December 2016, but was slightly delayed as some other satellites are to be launched before that.
Sources said talks with Afghanistan to have the country on-board for the project is in its final stages.
Envisaged as a gift to its neighbours, the project, earlier known as SAARC satellite, faced stiff resistance from Pakistan. The neighbouring country wanted it to be launched under the aegis of the South Asian regional forum. It later backed out of the project.
Apart from India, the satellite will benefit Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.