science & technology, Stories, World

ISRO launched 59 Indian & 74 Foreign Satellites in the last 20 years


ISRO broke its own record by successfully launching 20 satellites into space with the 36th flight of the PSLV. It carried a Cartosat-2 series satellite along with 17 foreign satellites and 2 student made satellites. In the last 20 years, ISRO has launched 59 Indian and 74 foreign satellites.


 The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched the 36th flight of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This time around, the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 (earth observation satellite) Series Satellite along with 19 co-passenger satellites were successfully launched. Since 1996, ISRO has launched 59 Indian Satellites and 74 foreign satellites including the current launch.

Indian Space Research Organization_pslv

Importance of the Current Launch

This is the first time that the PSLV has successfully launched 20 different satellites in a single launch. The previous record was launching 10 satellites in a single launch in 2008. The 20 satellites comprise a Cartosat-2 along with 19 co-passenger satellites. Out of the 19, two – SATHYABAMASAT weighing 1.5 kg and SWAYAM weighing 1 kg are University/Academic institute satellites and were built with the involvement of students from Sathyabama University, Chennai and College Of Engineering, Pune, respectively.  The remaining 17 co-passenger satellites were international customer satellites from Canada (2), Germany (1), Indonesia (1) and the United States (13). The total weight of all the 20 satellites carried is about 1288 kg.

According to a press release by ISRO, the imagery sent by the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

Indian Space Research Organization_pslv panoramic

With this successful launch, the total number of satellites launched by PSLV has reached 113, of which 39 are Indian and the remaining 74 from abroad.

59 Indian Satellites launched in the last 20 years and 35 are operational

During the last 20 years (1996 till date), ISRO has launched 59 Indian satellites, which include

  • 24 Communication Satellites
  • 15 Earth Observation satellites
  • 7 Navigational Satellites
  • 3 Weather & Atmosphere satellites
  • 4 Space science & Planetary exploration satellites
  • 6 Satellites built by students of Indian Universities / Institutions. 

Indian Space Research Organization_Indian satellites launched by ISRO

As per government information, 35 satellites are operational in the country currently out of which 13 are Communication Satellites, 13 are Earth Observation Satellites, 7 are Navigational Satellites namely and 2 are Space science Satellites.

74 Foreign Satellites launched in the last 20 years

In the last 20 years, ISRO has launched 74 foreign satellites from 20 different countries. Out of the 74 satellites, 17 are from the USA, 10 each from Germany & Canada, 8 from Singapore, 6 from UK, 3 each from Indonesia & Japan and 2 each from Austria, Denmark, France & Switzerland. One satellite each of 9 other countries was also by ISRO.

Indian Space Research Organization_foreign satellites launched by ISRO

ISRO also has MOUs with 37 different for exploration and use of outer space. The MOUs include various fields like Joint development of advanced scientific instruments to observe earth and universe; joint realization of satellite missions; jointly carrying out calibration and validation experiments etc.  ISRO has agreements to launch 25 foreign satellites in 2016-17 from 7 different countries.

ISRO earned a revenue of 80.6 Million Euros from 2013-15

The commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix has earned total revenue of 80.6 Million from satellite launches during 2013 and 2015. Antrix earned 6.9 Million Euros in 2013, 18.2 Million Euros in 2014 and 55.5 Million Euros in 2015. As per government data, Antrix is likely to earn a revenue of USD 4.54 Million and Euros 63.91 Million by launching 25 satellites from 7 countries during 2015-2017.

ISRO’s ambitious space program for 2022

The following space program is proposed to be executed by the year 2022.

  • Development & operationalisation of advanced launch vehicle systems
  • High-resolution / thematic earth observational satellites with improved capabilities
  • Geo-imaging satellites for near real time imaging under cloud free conditions
  • Microwave multi-spectral remote sensing satellites
  • High-power/ high-throughput communication satellites
  • Satellites for weather & atmosphere
  • Operationalisation of regional navigation services
  • Satellites for space science & planetary exploration
  • Development of critical technologies for human spaceflight
  • Space applications in the area of remote sensing, communication and navigation, including societal services.

Image Source: ISRO


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.