#Don’t miss this spectacular video of 104 satellites deployed in space

India’s space agency has released stunning video captured by cameras mounted on-board a rocket that launched this week with 104 satellites.

The views begin with the blastoff of the 145-foot-tall (45-meter) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from India’s east coast, then the separation of the rocket’s six strap-on solid rocket boosters and main stages.

The video then jumps to the deployment of the Cartosat 2D environmental satellite, the mission’s primary passenger, to begin its tasks aiding Indian infrastructure planners and mapmakers. Two Indian-built nanosatellites carrying experimental Earth observation sensors are then seen flying away from the PSLV’s fourth stage.

Next comes the release of 101 CubeSats from 25 “QuadPacks” mounted on the rocket. The deployments from both sides of the rocket at intervals every few seconds, taking around 10 minutes for all of the tiny spacecraft to fly free of the rocket.

Most of the satellites seen in the video are CubeSats built and owned by Planet, a San Francisco-based company with a fleet of more than 140 mini-observatories looking down on Earth.

Tiny reaction wheels derived from the motors used in dental drills were to gain pointing control of each CubeSat, and the satellites — which are not equipped with rocket thrusters — will be spread out along their orbital path by tilting into the rarefied air flow in the uppermost reaches of Earth’s atmosphere, generating minute drag forces, according to a representative of the company.

Other CubeSats on the mission included eight commercial weather satellites for Spire Global, another San Francisco company, and experimental and educational payloads for institutions in Switzerland, Israel, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

from Spaceflight Now bit.ly/2kWrb0i

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