India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would launch 21 small and mostly foreign commercial satellites along with a larger Indian spacecraft.
- The primary passenger on the PSLV-C33 launcher will be the Earth observing, high-resolution Cartosat-2C, weighing around 700 kg.
- Offering a resolution of about 60 cm, Cartosat-2C would fulfill the country’s military requirements. Its camera, among other functions, can spot objects that are 60 cm wide or long – roughly an arm’s length, from its orbit of around 600 km.
- Previously the PSLV had launched 10 spacecrafts including eight small foreign ones in April 2008 with the main passenger being Cartosat-2A, another defence enabler, giving pictures of 80 cm resolution of the ground below.
- NASA holds the highest record for placing the highest number (29) of small customer satellites in orbit on a Minotaur launcher.
- Multiple launches need multiple interfaces between the rocket and the spacecraft, and coordination with operators of each spacecraft.
- ISRO Chairman has opined that missions must be planned meticulously by timing the release of each customer satellite carefully without affecting the others.