World Record: India Overtakes Russia after Launching 104 Satellites on A Single Mission
India has successfully launched a record number of 104 satellites on a single mission, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014.
All but three of the satellites are from foreign countries, most of them from the United States.
The launch took place from the Sriharikota space center in east India.
According to observers, it is a sign that India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market.
Project director B Jayakumar was quoted as saying by Reuters: “This is a great moment for each and every one of us. Today we have created history.”
Indian PM Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate the scientists tweeting: “This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists.”
The phrase “world record” has also been trending on Twitter India on February 15.
Of the 104 small satellites, 96 belong to the US while Israel, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the Netherlands are the other foreign clients.
A majority of the satellites have earth-imaging capability and belong to American company Planet.
An Indian cartographic satellite, believed to be capable of taking high resolution images is also on board. It is expected to be used to monitor regional arch rivals Pakistan and China.
India has increased the 2017 budget for its space program and also announced plans to send a mission to Venus.
Over the past two decades, India has become a key player in the lucrative commercial space market offering a low-cost alternative.