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:
And here’s the video of the launch.