India puts record 104 satellites into space with a single launch

An Indian rocket blasted off Wednesday morning from Sriharikota in eastern India putting a record 104 satellites into space in a single launch, surpassing Russia’s previous feat of launching 37 satellites one year ago, according to India’s space agency.

The launch also marked a milestone in the country’s efforts to emerge as a serious contender in the multi-billion dollar global commercial space industry by slashing costs.

Besides a 714 kilogram earth observation satellite, the others were mostly nano satellites — those weighing up to 10 kilograms.

A majority of these small satellites came from customers in the United States, others from countries such as Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

India’s space program has focused heavily on low-cost access to space. The ability to put a larger number of satellites in space in a single launch brings down the cost significantly, which could help the country grab a larger slice of the commercial launch market, analysts say.