The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Tuesday that it was planning to launch a record 83 satellites in one go using its PSLV-C37 towards the end of January.
“We are working for a January launch. It will be toward the end of January. The date has to be fixed,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru.
Of the 83 satellites, 80 belong to Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the US. They weigh about 500kg. The three Indian satellites are Cartosat-2 series, weighing 730kg as primary payload, and INS-IA and INS-1B, weighing 30kg.
Calling 2016 a ‘good’ year, Kumar said ISRO would launch at least five communication satellites in 2017.
“It (launches) will be more next year; we are actually looking at almost something like five communication satellites, then many more others. Some earth observation also,” he said in response to a question on the number of launches that can be expected in 2017.
“In the year we are primarily trying to do our GSLV Mark III, then Mark II… one more launch we are trying to do,” Kumar said.
The first three months should see three launches, beyond which ISRO was targeting almost one a month, he said on the side lines of the 21st convocation of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences.
ISRO in June had successfully launched 20 satellites, including its earth observation Cartosat-2 series, in a single mission on board PSLV-C34 from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The space agency had earlier sent 10 satellites into orbit on a single mission in 2008.