A Swiss nano-satellite was among 104 to successfully be launched into space as part of a world record attempt by the Indian Space Research Organisation.
SpacePharma, a Swiss company based in Courgenay in canton Jura, had entrusted a five-kilogram (11-pound) nano-satellite to the Indian space agency, which successfully launched it into space today at 09:28 local time (04:58 Swiss time).
Never have so many satellites been launched in a single attempt. In total, the Indian space launch vehicle PSLV-C37 carried 103 nano-satellites weighing a total of 664 kilograms, as well as a 714-kilogram Indian Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation. The US has the biggest stake with 96 nano-satellites on board.
SpacePharma offers research institutes and companies the opportunity to conduct controlled experiments in zero gravity at an affordable cost (an average of CHF200,000 or $199,300 per experiment). Their nano-satellite will be hosting four experiments during this launch for institutions like the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, and the Universities of Tel Aviv and Glasgow.
“This is a prototype or proof of concept satellite to show what we can do,” Martin Aebi, director of SpacePharma, told swissinfo.ch. “The Indian launch was attractive to us from a financial and technical point of view and they were very professional.”