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ISRO to launch record 103 satellites on a single rocket  

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to set a new world record in space history by launching 103 satellites in one go on a single rocket in the first week of February, 2017.

These satellites will be launched on board of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV (C37) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The mission will carry three satellites from India and rest from other countries.

How these satellites will be placed in orbit?
  • The satellites will be separated from vehicle in different directions, once launch vehicle reaches the orbital condition. The separation angle and time of separation will be different for every satellite.
  • The separated satellites will have relative velocity of one metre per second. So after 1,000 seconds distance between satellite and rocket will be 1,000 metres. It will ensure that satellite will not collide with another.
  • The first satellite launched will move at relatively faster velocity than the next satellite. Due to different relative velocities, distance between the satellites will increase continuously but the orbit will remain same.

The present record of highest number of satellites launched in a single mission has been 37 by Russia in 2014. NASA has launched 29 satellites in one go in 2013. In June 2016, ISRO had launched 20 satellites in one go.

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket successfully places 10 satellites into orbit

US based rocket manufacturing company SpaceX successfully launched constellation of 10 satellites into orbit on board of its two stage Falcon 9 Rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The satellites were deployed into the designated to low-Earth orbit about an hour after launch. Besides, rocket’s first stag also landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.

Key Facts
  • The constellation of 10 satellites was launched as part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
  • This was SpaceX’s first launch since September 2016 accident of similar rocket on a Florida launch pad which exploded after its launch along with $200 million Israeli communications satellites Amos-6.

About SpaceX

  • SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, US.
  • It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
  • SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable. It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also developing a manned version of Dragon is in development.
  • SpaceX’s achievements: First privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008. First privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010. First private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS, in 2012.
  • As of July 2016, it has flown nine missions to the ISS under a cargo resupply contract with NASA signed in 2006.

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China launches first commercial space mission with new Kuaizhou-1A rocket  

China successfully launched first commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket. As part of the mission three satellites JL-1, CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.

 The rocket was launched form northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province. Rocket technology company under the state owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (ACSIC) was responsible for the successful launch mission. 

Key Facts
  • The success of the mission marks the Chinese company’s capability of providing flexible, convenient, quick and economical launch services for domestic and overseas clients.
  • KZ-1A rocket: It is improvised and advance version of erstwhile Kuaizhou-1 rocket. It is a low-cost solid- fuelled carrier rocket with high reliability and short preparation period. It has been designed to launch low-orbit satellites weighing less than 300 kg.
  • JL-1 Satellite: It is a multifunctional remote-sensing satellite providing high-definition video images. It is expected to be used for environmental protection, land resource and forestry surveying, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.
  • XY-S1 and Caton-1 Satellites: They are experimental satellites to test technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively.

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