India to launch 104 satellites in record mission

ISRO satellite is launched. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2017
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India to launch 104 satellites in record mission

NEW DELHI: India hopes to make history by launching a record 104 satellites from a single rocket Wednesday as its famously frugal space agency looks to zoom ahead in the commercial space race.
The rocket is set to blast off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota, India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle would be carrying a 714 kilogram main satellite for earth observation and 103 smaller “nano satellites” which would weigh a combined 664 kilograms.
Nearly all of the nano satellites are from other countries, including Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and 96 from United States, said the state-run ISRO.
If successful, India will set a world record as the first country to launch the most satellites in one go, surpassing Russia which launched 39 satellites in a single mission in June 2014.
The business of putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is growing as phone, Internet and other companies, as well as countries, seek greater and more high-tech communications.
India is competing with other international players for a greater share of that launch market, and is known for its low-cost space program.
Last June, India set a national record after it successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites, including 13 from the US.
It sent an unmanned rocket to orbit Mars in 2013 at a cost of just $73 million, compared with NASA’s Maven Mars mission which had a $671 million price tag.
ISRO is also mulling the idea of missions to Jupiter and Venus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often hailed India’s budget space technology, quipping in 2014 that a rocket that launched four foreign satellites into orbit had cost less to make than Hollywood film “Gravity.” 


16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

Updated 26 June 2019
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16 dead in crush at Madagascar independence day rally

  • The accident occurred outside Mahamasina Stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark National Day

ANTANANARIVO: At least 16 people were crushed to death and dozens injured in Madagascar on Wednesday at a stadium hosting national independence day celebrations in the capital Antananarivo.
The bodies of sixteen victims, including three children, were stored at the mortuary of HJRA hospital in the city, AFP journalists said.
Hospital director Oliva Alison Rakoto had earlier reported 15 dead and 80 wounded.
According to witnesses at the hospital, the accident occurred in the afternoon outside the Mahamasina stadium, where several thousand people had gathered for a concert following the traditional military parade held to mark the national holiday.
At the end of a military parade, security forces opened the gates to allow spectators to leave the enclosure, causing the crowd to mass outside the stadium, witnesses said.
The police then immediately closed the gates and blocked the crowd, witnesses said, causing a deadly pile up.
“When the organizers opened the gate, we were in the front row, in the queue,” said Jean Claude Etienne Rakotoarimanana, 29, who suffered bruises from the crush.
“Suddenly people ran to get in front of us. They shoved us, some even punched us and pulled us,” he added, saying he then fainted.
In September 2018, a deadly crush killed one person and injured 30 people in similar circumstances at the entrance of the same stadium during a football match between Madagascar and Senegal.