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3..2..1..Go!
WELL DONE

In photos: How India prepared for the launch of 20 satellites atop a single rocket

By Manu Balachandran

In 1981, India’s first communication satellite—the Ariane Passenger PayLoad Experiment (APPLE)—was foisted atop a bullock-cart and driven to an open field for testing (pdf) because no facilities existed in the country for such a task.

Thirty-five years later, on Wednesday (June 22), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 20 satellites into space. This is the largest number of satellites that the Indian space agency has launched at one go. Earlier, ISRO had launched 10 satellites in a single mission in 2008.

At 9.46 AM on June 22, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)—on its 36th flight—launched the 727.5-kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation, along with 19 other satellites. Thirteen of these were from the US, including the 12 Dove satellites from Planet Labs organisation. There were two Canadian satellites and one each from Germany and Indonesia.

These photos from ISRO capture the Indian space agency’s epic mission:

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A satellite in the clean room for moment of inertia measurements
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Solar panel deployment test at the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bengaluru
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A satellite undergoing vibration test at ISAC, Bengaluru
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A Cartosat-2 series satellite in the clean room at Sriharikota
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PSLV-C34 core stage segments joining in progress
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Integration of strap-on motors with PSLV-C34 core stage at the Vehicle Assembly Building, Sriharikota
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PSLV-C34 first stage integration in progress
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PSLV-C34 second stage integration in progress
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All the 20 satellites integrated with PSLV-C34—the two halves of the heat shield are seen
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Fully integrated PSLV-C34 at the Vehicle Assembly Building
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Fully integrated PSLV-C34 with all the spacecraft being moved out of Vehicle Assembly Building to the second launch pad.
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PSLV-C34 on second launch pad

And here’s the video of the launch.