India has effectively placed a large domestic spy satellite and several smaller ones belonging to many foreign countries in no less than three separate orbits by means of just one flight. For India, this is a first, and an inexpensive option, something that can enhance its standing for novel affordable options in the field of space.
28 Satellites in A Single Three-Pronged Launch.
India's EMISAT intelligence-gathering satellite weighing 436 kg was launched a few days ago, together with 28 smaller foreign satellites from the launch pad of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, and presently orbiting 749 km above the Earth. Out of these, 24 small satellites came from the U.S, two of them from Lithuania and one satellite each from Switzerland and Spain, according to ISRO the Indian space agency. The latter is meant to be used for what they called the Internet of Things, meaning they will be used to connect physical gadgets to the internet.
The First Time...
In a speech afterward, he said that this is something of a record for the PSLV because it is conducting three orbital missions by means of a single launch. By this, he meant the family of rockets termed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. According to Brahma Chellaney, the famous defense analyst the EMISAT with a low earth orbit can serve as an intelligence and military reconnaissance satellite. NDTV a prominent Indian TV channel reported that this spy satellite can monitor and locate radar sites of the enemy. Interestingly, this launch came on the heels of India's successful test of its anti-satellite missile.
Sivan spoke to the media about this three in one launch which would reduce the costs of launching satellites. In fact, the space agency is aiming to launch 30 more such missions during this year, which includes Chandrayan 2, the second program of India's lunar exploration. India is poised to conduct its first ever manned mission to space at a cost of $1.4 billion which is a whole lot cheaper than what America and China dish out for the same type of projects. In fact, the country launched its unmanned mission for Mars in 2014 at a cost of $74 million which is only a small part of the $671 million that NASA spent for its Mar's mission, MAVEN.
Critics who are awed by India's success say that India's space program is just a screen to hide the fact that it is aiming for the militarization of space.