India just smashed the record for most satellites launched by a single rocket

Launching just one satellite into space is challenging enough, but 100-plus? In one go?

This impressive record-breaking feat was achieved late Tuesday night Eastern Time by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) when a total of 104 satellites were sent skyward aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from a site about 1,000 miles (1600 kilometers) south of New Delhi.

The launch smashed the previous record for the most satellites sent up on a single rocket, set by Russia in 2014 when it sent 37 into orbit.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was quick to acknowledge the successful launch, tweeting a message of congratulations and describing it as “another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation.”

The main payload for the historic launch was the nation’s Cartosat-2 Earth-observation satellite. But the vast majority — 88 to be precise — were “Dove” satellites built by San Francisco-based Earth-imaging company Planet. The remaining 14 are nanosatellites from India, Israel, the UAE, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Kazakhstan.

Robbie Schingler, Planet’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, described the launch as a “major milestone” in the company’s bid to image the whole of Earth’s landmass on a daily basis.

“Tonight is the culmination of a huge effort over the past five years,” Schingler wrote in a post. “In 2011 we set ourselves the audacious mission of imaging the entire Earth land area every day. We were convinced that armed with such data, humanity would be able to have a significant positive impact on many of the world’s greatest challenges.

“We calculated that it would take between 100 and 150 satellites to achieve this, and we started building them. After today’s launch, Planet operates 144 satellites in orbit. We have reached our milestone.”

But before the satellites start sending imagery back to Earth, the company first needs to correctly position each one to guarantee maximum data-gathering efficiency.

Planet’s diminutive Dove satellite can be picked up with one hand and weighs just 10 pounds (about 4.5kg). Each one offers a 200Mbps downlink speed and is capable of collecting over 2 million square kilometers of imagery per day. The company’s clients cover a range of industries, among them defense, mapping, agriculture, and forestry.

Emerging Tech

SpaceX Starlink: Here’s everything you need to know

SpaceX Starlink is the name of Elon Musk's ambitious plan to blanket the globe with high speed broadband internet via a network of satellites. Here's everything you need to know about it
Emerging Tech

Scientists want to bore holes through clouds using lasers from satellites

Researchers at the University of Geneva in Switzerland have proposed a plan to use ultra-hot and ultra-short laser beams to punch through cloud layers and transmit information from satellites to Earth.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

Drones are beginning to enable everything from search & rescue, to the delivery of medicines to hard-to-reach places. But they are also being used as cheap, and deadly flying bombs. How can we defend ourselves?
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Emerging Tech

Behind the unsettling sci-fi landscapes of Simon Stalenhag’s ‘Electric State’

The narrative artbook follows the journey of a young traveler, Michelle, and her robot, Skip, as they head west to the Pacific coast through an alternative America torn apart by civil war and the trappings of military-grade virtual reality.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.
Emerging Tech

Get one of the best cheap drones you can buy, and cry less when you crash

Want to get in on all this hot drone action, but don't want to spend half a paycheck to make it happen? There are actually lots of feature-packed budget options. Check out this list of the best drones under $500.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: AI-powered cat toys, wallets, and food containers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards
Product Review

Parrot Anafi drone review

It’s definitely not perfect, and there are a few little things that could be improved, but even so, Anafi is unquestionably the best drone that Parrot has ever made.