“I was shocked the other day to read that India, on one rocket launch, deposited more than 100 satellites in space,” former Senator Coats told lawmakers on Tuesday during his confirmation hearing for the position of Director of National Intelligence. He said the US cannot afford to be seen lagging behind.

US President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, has said he was “shocked” to know that India successfully launched over 100 satellites in one go, asserting that the US cannot afford to be seen lagging behind.

India’s space agency ISRO launched a record 104 satellites on a single rocket from the ‘Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on February 15.

“They may be small in size with different functions and so forth but one rocket can send up, I think it was 104 platforms,” said Mr Coats, who if confirmed would be in-charge of all major American intelligence agencies including the CIA.

The co-passenger satellites comprised 101 nano satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UAE and 96 from the US, as well as two nano satellites from India.

With this launch, India became the first country to successfully carry so many satellites in a single mission. The ISRO said the historic launch overtook the 2014 Russian record of 37 satellites in a single launch.