ISRO is all set for its prestigious launch of 22 satellites in a single shot in June, said ISRO Chairman, Kiran Kumar, without giving the details about the possible type of satellites, though expected to be mostly nanosatellites.
Tentatively slated in the second half of June, the PSLV-C34 mission in the PSLV-XL configuration, will launch the Cartosat 2C high-resolution Earth observation satellite and 21 smaller secondary payloads from international customers. Originally scheduled for May, it was postponed to June.
Riding high on successful test of the reusable launch vehicle, he said last month end, “Next month we have a launch where we will be launching about 22 satellites. Also one of a cartographic series satellite will be launched.”
So three of them are Indian but all others are commercial foreign satellites. ISRO will lift off all the satellites via its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C34 carrying 19 foreign satellites from US, Canada, Indonesia and Germany.
It is not new for ISRO to combine foreign commercial and indigenous satellites every time it launches a PSLV rocket. As of April 2016, ISRO has launched 57 foreign satellites mostly using PSLV, while heavier satellites having mass greater than 1600 kg were deployed by its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
Last time ISRO embarked upon such huge array of satellites was in 2008 when it had successfully launched 10 satellites at one go. Ever since ISRO launched an unmanned Mars orbiter to the red planet in 2014 costing $73 million, compared to the $670 of NASA, eye-brows around the world raised up bringing laurels for the Indian space agency.