India is now truly a space power after it successfully sent its 100th satellite into space to bolster its border security.
While NASA attracts much of the world’s attention when it comes to national programmes for space exploration, a number of countries are rapidly developing their own agencies, with aims of not only regularly sending spacecraft into orbit, but further into deep space.
One such agency is the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which confirmed that it has achieved a major milestone: its 100th satellite in space.
The news was confirmed by the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, on Twitter, who described it as a “glorious achievement” for India.
This is part of his efforts to bolster ISRO to attract business from private and other national partners in an industry worth approximately $300bn.
With a budget of $4bn, the agency has pivoted to become a potential location for low-cost space flights, bringing it in competition with a number of private enterprises, such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and the United Launch Alliance.
My heartiest congratulations to @isro and its scientists on the successful launch of PSLV today. This success in the New Year will bring benefits of the country's rapid strides in space technology to our citizens, farmers, fishermen etc.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 12, 2018
India’s eyes in the sky
According to Reuters, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) launched with its Indian-built payload from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh early this morning (12 January).
The satellite is part of India’s Cartosat-2 series, which will be used to collect thousands of images of its borders to bolster its security.
These images will be shared with India’s security agency to track any military activity on its borders as the country continues to dispute politically over their actual definition, particularly with Pakistan and China.
A total of 31 other satellites were included in the payload, many of which are categorised as microsatellites from a number of different nations. These included Canada, Finland, France, South Korea, the UK and the US.
In February of last year, ISRO achieved a record-breaking payload for a single rocket launch with 104 satellites from various nations, trebling the previous record of 37 achieved by Russian space agency Roscosmos.