India has successfully launched a rocket carrying a cluster of 10 satellites into space. This is considered as a rare feat for India's space programme.
All 10 satellites were deployed in orbit within moments of each other and the entire operation lasted 20 minutes only.
From the official press release:
ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C9, successfully launched the 690 kg Indian remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A, the 83 kg Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nanosatellites for international customers into a 637 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C9 in its 'core alone' configuration launched ten satellites with a total weight of about 820 kg.
According to PTI, Last year, Russia launched a rocket carrying 16 satellites - but with a smaller payload.
G Madhavan Nair, chairman (Isro) said:
It is a historic moment for us because it is the first time that we have launched 10 satellites in a single mission. The mission was perfect
In its twelve consecutively successful flights so far, PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) has repeatedly proved itself as a reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle. It has demonstrated multiple satellite launch capability having launched a total of sixteen satellites for international customers besides thirteen Indian payloads which are for remote sensing, amateur radio communications and Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1). The same vehicle will be used to launch Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India’s first mission to Moon during this year.
India's space programme is more than 45 years old and real aim is to enter into satellite-launching market and reduce its dependence on foreign space agencies.