ISRO’s PSLV Set to Launch Record 104 Satellites

PSLV-C37 booster (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty ninth flight (PSLV-C37), will launch the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 103 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C37 will be launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. It will be the sixteenth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from United States of America (USA), as well as two Nano satellites from India. The total weight of all the satellites carried onboard PSLV-C37 is about 1378 kg.

PSLV-C37 also carries two ISRO Nano satellites (INS-1A and INS-1B), as co-passenger satellites. These two satellites carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments.

The 101 International customer Nano satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), a Government of India company under Department of Space (DOS), the commercial arm of ISRO and the International customers.

PSLV-C37 is scheduled to be launched on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 9.28 Hrs IST from Sriharikota

  • JamesG

    What could possibly go wrong….

  • And who is going to clean up the mess?

  • OldCodger

    Good luck to them. I don’t see why anything can be assumed to go wrong? or is it because they have brown skin and are not from the USA?

  • JamesG

    That would be racist. Wait, that IS racist to even think of/assume.

    No. The reference is to the intentional shotgunning of orbital debris err… I mean bulk cube sats.

  • Hug Doug

    They’re being released into a low orbit, the vast majority will reenter the atmosphere within 5 years.

  • JamesG

    Do the maths on how many orbits and possible conjunctions with all the other objects in crossing orbits will occur during that time.

  • Hug Doug

    It’s pretty low, orbital altitudes below 500 km are pretty sparsely popluated.

  • windbourne

    Just not likely.

  • windbourne

    Several ppl here have shown that they are very much racists, but James is the opposite.

  • JamesG

    Keep telling yourself that. Its still hundreds of objects some of whom whip out to GEO altitudes.

  • Hug Doug

    Not for this launch, it’s to a 505 km circular sun synchronous orbit.

  • JamesG

    They only have to meet once.

  • Hug Doug

    Seems unlikely, given the degree to which their orbits will be known.

  • JamesG

    Unless they are in prefect resonance or in the same plane, their orbital separation and conjuctions will change in relation to one another over time. If their apsides overlap there will be a threat of a potential collision. The threat each time is very small, but each time is a fresh roll of the dice. For each and every two objects. Also there is lots of junk that isn’t cataloged (yet). We/they have no idea where these things are going to run into when they are released. It is going to be a instant, intentional new debris field.

    We need to stop poking the Black Swan daring it to crap on us.

  • Paul Thomas

    Do you want to stop putting things into orbit?

  • JamesG

    Of course not. But we need to ACT like we are aware that orbital space is not infinite.

  • Hug Doug

    If things were as dire as you seem to think they are, we wouldn’t be launching anything at all into space.

  • JamesG

    That is naive. We are launching and littering space because it makes more money and no one has to or is forced to pay for it (no deorbiting 2nd stages with leftover ullage doesn’t count) because it hasn’t happened yet.


    The problem is, when something like Kessler Syndrome does happen, we are screwed. There is no way to fix it. The risks and costs of putting things into space will go way up when they were/should be going down.

  • Hug Doug

    This is not an issue that fits into Black Swan Theory. We’ve known about the problem increasing amounts of orbital debris could pose for decades! Additionally, there have been major collisions with non-functioning satellites, and several satellites that have suddenly ceased functioning are suspected to have been hit by debris. So yes, it has happened!

    We have been mitigating against Kessler syndrome for many years. There is now an international agreement that satellites should deorbit, either actively or passively, within 25 years of their end of mission. Yes, deorbiting upper stages absolutely does count, since a large amount of existing debris is the remains of upper stages that exploded in the 60s and 70s. Venting fuel from upper stages and / or deorbiting them with the remaining fuel has been a significant help in reducing the amount we have added to orbital debris. Kessler’s original prediction for when orbits might become unusable if no mitigation steps were taken has already passed, if you weren’t aware of that.

  • Hug Doug

    we do.

  • JamesG

    You are rationalizing. And why it does fit into a Black Swan scenario. No one in the industry thinks/cares/acts like it could happen because it would mean the end of their livelihoods and careers. No one makes money NOT launching things into orbit. From every nation-state thinking they need their own secrut squirrel spy sat, to astronauts throwing old parts and toolbags off the ISS, to every community college flying their own snowflake cube sats, everyone in incentivized to fill the sky with more junk. But no one is going, “Hmmmm, maybe we shouldn’t.” or, “Hey, lets put all this functionality and experimentation in one place in stead of scattering it evenly around like buckshot in a blender.”

    You know what the “solutions” from the industry is? Launching more
    mass. Either cleanup vehicles or tether, sail, net like mechanisms.

    We deorbit or vent more upper stages now, but we also launch many more sats per year now, and all those vehicles throw off parts and paintchips which become part of the orbital flotsam. It is a total band-aide that costs the launch industry and sat. operators nearly nothing and lets them ignore Kessler’s warning. Because… it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Hug Doug

    “No one in the industry thinks/cares/acts like it could happen because it would mean the end of their livelihoods and careers.”

    This statement is completely untrue. The industry knows it can happen – obviously, since it has happened – and continues to take steps to mitigate against it. Already mentioned, the international standards for deorbiting satellites a short time after EOM, which is a step intended to mitigate debris formation.

    Operational satellites are not junk. Stuff orbiting under 500 km has orbital lifespans of less than 5 years, so the occasional astronaut dropping a tool or disposing of something after a spacewalk isn’t going to imperil LEO. That’s not a rationalization, that’s just a fact.

    I agree that more efforts need to be made on deorbiting existing hazards, like dead satellites. There is a ton of information available online about people are working on technology to do just that. Tethers have been and will be tested, for example, and active deorbiting systems are in the works.

    Nobody is ignoring Kessler’s syndrome. This is just a false statement on your part.

  • JamesG

    I wish I had your optimism.

  • Hug Doug

    Optimisim has nothing to do with it. Telling outright falsehoods like, “nobody in the industry worries about space debris,” has everything to do with it.

    What’s all this??

    IADC Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines

    Compendium of space debris mitigation standards adopted by States and international organizations

    U.S. Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices

    NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris

    NASA Process for Limiting Orbital Debris

    ISO 24113:2011 Space systems — Space debris mitigation requirements

  • JamesG

    That is busy work for people sitting around behind desks. The wishful thinking and ass covering I mentioned in the post above that you like to cling too. Because the rockets are still flying, the satellites are still taking up orbital slots, and the bits and pieces are still going around.

    Even when sats start going poof on a regular basis, the generals are still going to get their spy sats. The politicians are still going to get pet district projects. The telecom corporations are going to get their birds making money. And all of the satellite contractors and launch operators, all around the world are going to fulfill their obligations as quickly and as cheaply as they can get away with, not to mention that spaceflight is hard and fail all the time.

    Go ahead keep burying your head in the sand telling yourself it can’t happen, or we are really doing anything about it. I’ll try not to say, “I told you so” if the worst does happen. Oh wait, I won’t be able to because the Internet will probably crash.

  • Hug Doug

    Oh? Then why are launch services providers and satellite operators complying with these regulations and standards? You’re serving up lies here, and you know it.

    I haven’t said it’s not happening, you liar. I’ve specifically said it is – and the industry is aware of that and is working on it. You are the one with your head in the sand.

  • JamesG

    Sigh… You’ve gone off the rails irrational here so I’ll try one more time before writing you off.

    What we are talking about here is a runaway Kessler Syndrome. Not an occasional “opps”, and if we are advancing toward it or receding. My interpretation of your position is that you think things are getting better because we no longer do blatantly stupid things like leave half full stages floating around waiting to pop. And that we don’t have anything to worry about as long as launchers follow notional guidelines.

    I obviously disagree. Launch companies and operators are complying (usually) because their lawyers tell them they have to. But poop still happens. Rocket crap parts. Spacecraft go boom, spacecraft go dead. There are lots of functional and dead spacecraft orbiting and passing each other, with more and more all the time. The GEO graveyard doesn’t go away, all that junk is still up there. A collision at many km/s does not care if the object was junk or functional. Its all junk then. And every piece of junk we put up there increases the odds that collisions will occur and that tipping point into a catastrophic chain-reaction will occur.

    I hate to break it to you, but the industry is playing lip service to the problem while it gleefully rakes in as much money as it can until then. The proof is plain to see on this web site or by going and scrolling thru I don’t need to lie. And I find it really disappointing that you have no better argument than that.

  • Hug Doug

    Runaway Kessler isn’t happening. It’s not about to happen soon, and won’t happen at all in orbits below about 500 km regardless, the Earth’s upper atmosphere clears out that area naturally. Things are getting better, thanks to precautions that have been taken. As I’ve mentioned, the “business as usual” predictions made by Kessler in his original paper have not come to pass. The guidelines and standards that have been developed (some of which I linked to, you should look at them) have been very good steps in the right direction. That doesn’t mean everything’s perfectly fine and satellite providers can launch anything they want to haphazardly, that’s not the case and I don’t know anyone who would say that it is, besides you. We do need to remove debris from orbit, dead satellites for sure, but also much smaller debris. There are in spite of your claims otherwise, people and companies actively working on debris removal. This isn’t just lip service, and if you think it is, you are woefully behind the times.

    You have made demonstrably false claims. Repeating them after you have been showed evidence that the original claim is false, is lying. I will always call people who do this what they are: liars.

  • JamesG

    LOL. All you did was post a bunch of links to recommendations and guidelines, most of which are non legally binding. You have provided absolutely no “proof” of anything, other than your personal belief/hope/opinion. You did accidentally prove one thing though, the total denial that launch and LEO business is in over this issue. Your attitude is EXACTLY what is wrong.

    You have a tendency of turning a discussion into a personal attack when you can’t win or make a valid argument and I’m tired of it. Good bye kid.

  • Hug Doug

    Those links directly contradict your repeated claim that nobody knows or cares about the orbital debris issue.

    My attitude is that people in the industry know about, are deeply concerned with, and are actively working on the issue. This is backed up by regulations such as those I showed you, which have been developed over the past few decades. They aren’t a new thing that has suddenly come up.

    There are also multiple efforts on deorbiting technology. Examples:

    The one being childish is the one who is not acknowledging that they are wrong.