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Space Technology

India Launches 10 Satellites At Once 201

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-can't-even-juggle-two-satellites dept.
freakxx writes "India sets a world record after launching 10 satellites in one go using its workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). All the satellites were put into their respective orbits successfully. It was the core-alone version of the launch vehicle weighing 230 tonnes with a payload of 824 kg in total. Two of the satellites were Indian satellites, while the rest were from different countries. By this launch, the ISRO has proven its credibility and it is going to boost India's image in the attractive multi-billion commercial market of satellite launches. This was the 12th successful launch of the PSLV."
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India Launches 10 Satellites At Once

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  • by adpsimpson (956630) on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:53AM (#23224310)

    Suddenly, I'm worried I won't have to imagine a Beowolf cluster of satellites...

    Sorry.

    • On the good side... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      On the good side, we don't have to worry about the US military weaponizing space, since the complete ineptitude of conservative ideology will soon leave the US without a means of even getting into space, or the money to put anything there.

      Stay the course, fiscal conservatives! You still haven't hit rock bottom!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eln (21727)
        I don't know what you're talking about, there aren't any fiscal conservatives in the halls of power anymore. All that are left these days are borrow-and-spend politicians (Republicans have proven to be experts at this, but the Dems aren't exactly falling all over themselves trying to raise taxes or cut spending either).

        But yah, no one in Washington is even remotely interested in spending money putting much of anything into space, so any superiority we may have left in regards to space travel is pretty much
      • by j-pimp (177072)

        Stay the course, fiscal conservatives! You still haven't hit rock bottom!

        Our undoing will not be because of fiscal conservatism. I consider myself a libertarian war monger. I'd vote for Ron Paul if he was only pro war. That being said I do acknowledge that my military spending beliefs are not fiscally conservative.

      • I dunno, I saw a committee meeting about the ISS on CSPAN*, and they looked more than happy to throw more money at it. Not that I mind; if we're going to hemorrhage money, I think I'd prefer it to go to orbit of all places. The witnesses stressed the point that there was a lot of worthy research that was just waiting to be done, and it all depended on having a means of getting there now that we're losing the shuttles. I can't argue against that, but it was interesting how no one with a contesting view point
    • Building a... MIRV? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:03PM (#23226496) Journal
      Here's a funny thought:

      1. India has nukes. (It also sits on huge reserves of Thorium and has breeder reactors, so it can transform them to uranium or eventually plutonium, as needed.)

      2. If you can put an object in orbit, you can make it come down wherever you want it to come down. Or use a smaller rocket and/or a heavier load to make them go ballistic instead of orbitting at all. (For reference, the USSR's space program started the other way around. Someone realized that they had build a rocket so powerful to haul nukes, that it could put a small-ish object in orbit.) Rockets are that interchangeable purpose.

      3. Inclined/polar orbits? Always good to have for a nuke, if nothing else, to hit a location that's not near the equator. Plus you might want to go extremely inclined to minimize flight time and thus warning time (I think both the USA and the USSR had most of their nukes aimed at each other over the arctic), or to lob them over international waters and avoid pissing off everyone else in their path.

      As a bonus: once you can do polar orbits and big payloads, you can use spy sats.

      Now I'm not saying India is necessarily aiming to become an ICBM power. Maybe, maybe not. And they're probably not yet ready to willy-wave internationally about it, in any case. But I'm saying I wouldn't be the least surprised if that was at least one factor in funding that space program.

      I still remember seeing the news on TV when they had built their first nuke, and the general euphoria. It was waay back, while they were even poorer than today. Arguably that money could have been better invested in industrializing a little faster. But there were people cheering in the streets that they now have a big destructive weapon. I can see a lot of political capital in the implicit "and now we can lob it at anyone too!" message.

      Now I'm not singling India out there. I think they're just... humans, like everyone else. And it's a sad thing that we'd rather have a big stick to threaten the neighbours with, than an extra slice of bread.
      • by escay (923320) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:42PM (#23227918) Journal
        Not all countries' space programs are about war and weapons. some are less paranoid.

        The 690kg CARTOSAT and the 83kg IMS-1 are both remote sensing satellites, equipped with panchromatic (B&W) and Spectral cameras to image earth at visible and infrared frequencies. Many, if not all, indian satellites are for remote sensing/meteorological - because in a country where agriculture is the primary industry, it is paramount to track the movement of rainfall, particularly the seasonal monsoons. These weather predictions are vital for farmers to ensure a good harvest. A good harvest leads to lower food prices - in effect, this launch has a very close relationship to feeding India's poor, contrary to many trolls here.
        The focus of India's space program has, thankfully, been always about peaceful purposes while making money on the side by providing a cheap option for launching amateur radio/science project satellites built by students and universities (such as the other 8 in this launch). More info about the launch here [isro.org].

        As an interesting side note, the PSLV will also be used for Chandrayan-1, India's first mission to moon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Here's a funny thought: 1. India has nukes. (It also sits on huge reserves of Thorium and has breeder reactors, so it can transform them to uranium or eventually plutonium, as needed.)

        India also has uranium/plutonium for enough nukes. So why bother with the thorium route. Anyway, we are preserving our supply for more *interesting* applications and shopping around for an independent source of uranium for power, courtesy the nuke deal.

        2. If you can put an object in orbit, you can make it come down wherever you want it to come down. Or use a smaller rocket and/or a heavier load to make them go ballistic instead of orbitting at all. (For reference, the USSR's space program started the other way around. Someone realized that they had build a rocket so powerful to haul nukes, that it could put a small-ish object in orbit.) Rockets are that interchangeable purpose.

        India has a few ballistic missiles... The Agni series is the most prominent of the lot. I believe we are testing 5K range next year. (Beijing at last...) not quite the US yet, but still... Then there is the Surya. This one is almost mythical, but give it

        • by dbIII (701233)

          India also has uranium/plutonium for enough nukes. So why bother with the thorium route

          Good point, especially since Australia is happy to sell India and a lot of other places as much uranium as is desired.

          Offtopic even furthur but interesting since thorium was mentioned - the Indian accelerated thorium reactor idea looks like it could deliver most of the old civilian nuclear promises and gets around the fuel quality problems you have if there is high demand for uranium. It's even possible to add other fue

      • by dhavleak (912889) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:08PM (#23228282)

        India's guided missile program (Agni) is known to borrow heavily from it's civilian space program - this is true.

        However, it's important to note India's proven track record as a non-agressor, which is especially remarkable when you consider that its surrounded by hostile parties in one way or the other.

        India's first nuke test was in 1972 [wikipedia.org]. That's 36 years of indigenous nuke capability. In that time, they have been in a constant state of tension with Pakistan (and gone to war once - Kargil), had a prime minister (Rajiv Gandhi) asassinated by the LTTE (Sri Lankan militants), have parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh (another state of India) occupied by China, have ULFA seperatists operating in Assam (a north east state of India), and have constant tensions at their border with Burma and Bangladesh.

        Not once in this time has India used it's military in anything other than a defensive role. If India's neighbours (and indeed the rest of the world, and especially the US) showed that much restraint, the world would be a much better place.

      • by Rexdude (747457)
        I'll tell you why becoming an ICBM power is not on the agenda (I'm Indian, btw).

        The biggest nuclear threat we as Indians face are from the two neighbors- Pakistan and China (the latter somewhat less so).

        India has pretty cordial diplomatic relations with the rest of the world-possibly due to its history of the non aligned movement in the 60s, where it maintained friendly relations with both Western and Eastern bloc powers.

        *IF* we wanted to nuke our neighbors, ICBMs would be total overkill. The Agni III [wikipedia.org] miss
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:53AM (#23224318)
    You ever seen how many people they can pack in a single traincar?
  • It's like the Chinese causing earthquakes by all jumping off a chair at the same time: you just need a teeter-totter and 127-million Indians all jumping on the other end at once...
    • It's funny you said that. When I read the headline, I imagined a giant trebuchet flinging the satellites into their respective positions like a bucket of rocks. Now mine isn't as Non-PC as yours, but its the same concept.
      • by rbrander (73222)
        Thanks; I guess it was "non-PC", it sure didn't get modded up. I'm not sure what insult it is to base a dumb joke on the simple fact that India has a very high population, but insult it was, I guess - live and learn.
  • AAUSAT-II (Score:4, Informative)

    by wizards_eye (1145125) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:01AM (#23224436)
    One of the satellites is made by students at Aalborg University.

    You can follow the status here:
    http://aausatii.space.aau.dk/eng/ [space.aau.dk]
  • Recommendations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:05AM (#23224496) Journal
    Someone should tell the European Union about this way of launching satellites... then the politicians might stop wasting vast amounts of European taxpayers money on their own vastly over-budget but completely worthless GPS system, using the tracking of road drivers as one excuse for it's existence.
    • Re:Recommendations (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:24AM (#23224862) Journal

      Politicians might stop wasting vast amounts of European taxpayers money on their own vastly over-budget but completely worthless GPS system
      From Wikipedia:

      Galileo is intended to provide more precise measurements to all users than available through GPS or GLONASS, better positioning services at high latitudes and an independent positioning system upon which European nations can rely even in times of war or political disagreement.
      It might be redundant for many positioning applications, but completely worthless...?

      According to the same source, the EU is spending 3.4 billion Euros on this. This is just half of what we're spending on "administration" this year, and considering the other truly worthless crap we are spending money on, having our own GPS system is a pretty good goal in comparison.
      • by olman (127310)
        And to add insult to the injury, the Galileo project money is actually pulled from agriculture subsidy surplus. So no additional money is actually collected from taxpayers.

        Let's have a count of hands here, how many people think it's more important to fork money to pure goverment pork (literally) rather than developing some high-tech jobs in europe?

        Hey! That argument was actually the same as the tired old strawman people trot up wrt India's space program!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ballfire (807022)

      You know, with this satellite they injected a total of 824 Kg into a 625 Km orbit.

      Galileo has an orbit with a altitude of 23222Km with 675Kg a satellite. [wikipedia.org]

      How could this be used to launch Galileo?

  • It seems India has found a niche to fill in the space game. They serve a low/medium highly inclined polar orbit, not nearly geostationary, but still a need to be filled.

    Isn't this supposed to be the century India passes China as the most populous nation on earth? Those folks are going to need jobs.

  • by kharchenko (303729) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:10AM (#23224596)
    last year [satnews.com]. But still, it's impressive. Although I think they're putting them in SSO and not LEO just yet.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by doctor_nation (924358)
      Er, SSO is LEO. According to Wikipedia, SSO is usually at an altitude of 600-800km, and LEO is defined as any orbit between 160km and 2000km. ISS is only at an altitude of 350 km. If you're in any kind of stable orbit (i.e. above the atmosphere), you're in LEO or higher.

      Also, considering the size of a Cubesat (1 kg, 0.1 cubic meter), you could launch several hundred on any launch vehicle.
  • by jskline (301574) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:11AM (#23224624) Homepage
    Of one day looking up and really noticing that the available amounts of sunlight has been diminishing due to the rampant expansion of tracking and communications satellites being pushed into orbit by all the nations of the earth.

    Then we begin to see the outcome as diminished crops, rampant expansion of the polar ice belts, strange drops in cancer rates from excessive sunlight exposure in bikini clad Caucasian women;... And some strange little guy on the global news service saying something about "the sky is falling; the sky is falling!"...
    • Then we begin to see the outcome as diminished crops...
      The crops just need more Brawndo. It's got electrolytes.
    • by op12 (830015)

      ...one day looking up and really noticing that the available amounts of sunlight has been diminishing due to the rampant expansion of tracking and communications satellites being pushed into orbit by all the nations of the earth.
      Finally, a solution to global warming!
    • by berashith (222128)

      strange drops in cancer rates from excessive sunlight exposure in bikini clad Caucasian women
      so we can end cancer by simply placing white women in bikinis? sign me up for the test!
  • by oliderid (710055) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:18AM (#23224744) Journal

    Most of the above posts make fun of India. Well I must say that this record is quite impessive considering all the fuss the ESA made over their launch of two satellites in a row few years ago.

    Few things I have noticed the last years:

    • they bought Jaguar from Ford few weeks ago.
    • They established serious businesses competing in our fields (computer).
    • Math has been an indian skills for centuries.
    • The indian state is democratic.

    Sure they still have a long road ahead (poverty, bureaucracy, nationalism, protectionism,akward traditions, etc.) but they are definitely on the right path.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      We need to stop mocking India and to stop fearing China. Things will balance out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We need to stop ... fearing China. Things will balance out.
        I think that historical evidence indicates that those who fail to fear China eventually become China. No thanks.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A good list. Thanks for seeing India in positive light.

      But as an Indian, I am not so sure about the last item. Theoretically, yes, we are a democratic union of states. Practically, in every election, you will have hard time deciding which candidate has less murders, rapes and extortion changes against his/her name - that too assuming that your name is in the voters' lists, and you will actually be able to vote.

      Democracy lives only in the memory. The country has gone to pigs. All the development and pr
    • by AncientPC (951874)
      On top of that, why can't the US achieve this sort of payload efficiency? Our space program has been around for ~50 years now and we're spending significantly more per satellite to launch them.
    • by icepick72 (834363)
      akward traditions, etc.) but they are definitely on the right path

      Indeed it will be nice when they give up their traditions for yours -- a veritable turning point.
  • We seem to have trouble each time we launch a single space shuttle. . . .
    • by MBGMorden (803437)
      Oh please. The false drama is too much to bear. The shuttle has had 121 launches total. We lost 2 of them. That's a 98% success rate. Despite the shuttle loses being bad PR and a very sad event, the program as a whole has been hugely successful.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Not to mention that the first loss was completely avoidable if they had just listened to their technical advisor's! The shuttle program was designed with a loss rate of 1 in 100 launches and if it wasn't for the stupid PHB's we would be at 20% better than that. The follow up is designed with a loss rate of 1 in 1000 launches, but at a reduced technical capability.
    • by eln (21727)
      Are you trying to say we should try launching 10 space shuttles at once?
  • by Anonymous Coward


    as M.I.R.V.s [wikipedia.org].
    against the United Gulags of America.

    Nuclear Proliferatingly Yours,
    George W. Bush [whitehouse.org].

  • by tab_b (1279858) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:27AM (#23224898)
    Too bad it wasn't 8 satellites, then they could have named them: Anoop, Uma, Nabendu, Poonam, Priya, Sandeep, Sashi and Gheet - and then the rocket itself would have been: Apu [wikipedia.org]
  • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:39AM (#23225108) Homepage
    Six of those ten satellites were Amateur Radio payloads [amsat.org]. At least one is based on the de facto cubesat [delfic3.nl] standard developed by California Polytechnic State University. You can now order your own off-the-shelf flight qualified cubesat [cubesatkit.com], just in time for Christmas!


    The Delfi-C3 sat is relying on the Amateur Radio operators around the world to help capture telemetry and forward it to their earth station. Pretty cool, in my book.

  • With no replacement yet in sight for its Shuttles, which are scheduled to be retired in 2010.

    How terribly sad. Thanks, George Bush.
    • by gnick (1211984)

      With no replacement yet in sight for its Shuttles, which are scheduled to be retired in 2010.

      How terribly sad. Thanks, George Bush.
      But, IIRC, George promised us that we'd be putting a man on Mars. Just like his exit strategy, he has a solid plan - He's just waiting on his last day in office to surprise us with it. Have a little faith.
    • There's nothing terribly special about this sort of launch. The PSLV is a fairly unremarkable vehicle, and there have been launches that have included more than 10 [satnews.com] satellites in the past.

      America did indeed even participate in the Russian launch listed above.

      This launch also has virtually nothing to do with the Shuttle, which is primarily a manned crew vehicle. Retiring the shuttle is probably a good decision, given that it failed to fulfill its original design goals of being safe, cheap, and easily reusab
      • by peragrin (659227)
        The shuttle is safe, and fairly easily reusable.

        Cheap not so much, the Turn around time wasn't what was predicted either, but still the we normally launch a shuttle every 3 months.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_space_shuttle_missions#Flight_statistics [wikipedia.org]

        Name one other space vehicle that comes anywhere close to those statistics. It's not the Soyuz where the shuttles carry twice the personnel, many times the payload, and still have some 30% more launches.

        the shuttle isn't cheap but it is also the only lar
  • Stop insulting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You realize that not all of India lives in poverty right? When foreign nations look at US news, they see guns in schools and that becomes their image of the US. When people travel to India/watch the news, they travel to rural areas to look at what life is like. They don't remember the urban cities, they remember the poor citizens walking back and forth from wells to get water.

    Ignorance is another reputation the US has. Stop ruining our image, educate yourself before you start stating vacuous comments.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just see this coming up on every forum. What people overlook is that India's population >> EUs population, can Europe concieve any (democratic)system working on that scale? "Assuming" the benefits of the space program are restricted to the 'elite' 10%, that number is much greater then the population of France/germany or any other european country.

    ~~johri.
  • Wasn't Iridium at some point going to launch 12 or 16 at a time before that whole mess fell through?

    What ever happened to all those plans for "Internet in the sky" with constellations of hundreds of satellites? Pie in the sky? Guess so.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Latency is horrible to satellites and bandwidth is limited by device transmit power. A much better idea is very high altitude balloons. Use solar power to keep the balloon within tolerance and you have basically solved both problems while having a launch cost a fraction of what even a small comm satellite costs.
  • My understanding is that this vehicle had more than one amateur radio satellite on board, as well.
  • MIRV Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle.

    If I were Pakistan I'd be very concerned.
  • think maybe you're supposed to notice these things could've been warheads rather than sattelites?

    I'm just asking.
  • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:11PM (#23226618)
    That's sad. My Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle goes up to 11.....satellites.
  • ...Pakistan goes to DEFCON 1.

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