Indian space agency scores a perfect 100!
Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history with the successful launch of its 100th indigenous mission on Sunday.
ISRO's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-21 rocket blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 9.53 am.
The launch, scheduled for 9.51 am, was delayed by two minutes at the end of the 51-hour countdown, which began on September 7.
The PSLV, on its 22nd flight, soared into an overcast sky at 9.53 am carrying the 720 kg French satellite, the heaviest satellite to be launched by India for a foreign client.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who witnessed the landmark event congratulated ISRO scientists and engineers at the successful launch of PSLV rocket. "I'm delighted to witness the launch of PSLV-C21 carrying two foreign satellites. On behalf of all Indians, I congratulate the space fraternity," he said after the launch.
Terming the 100th space mission a spectacular success the Prime Minister said he nurtured no doubt that ISRO would achieve greater heights.
He said the country had overcome immense odds and was proud of its space scientists for setting up world-class facilities.
The PSLV C-21 rocket, standing around 44 metres tall and weighing around 230 tonne, carried two foreign satellites - French advanced remote sensing satellite 720 kg SPOT-6 and its 15 kg Japanese micro satellite PROITERES. The PSLV rocket has successfully put the two satellites into the orbit.
From the time of its humble beginnings when it launched the indigenous 'Aryabhatta' in Russia on April 19, 1975, it has been a long and successful odyssey for ISRO.
SPOT-6 is the biggest commercial lift so far since India forayed into the money-spinning commercial satellite launch services after 350kg Agile of Italy was put into orbit in 2007 by PSLV. Twelve other foreign commercial satellites were less than 300 kg.
France's five earlier SPOT satellites were launched by European Araine rocket.
SPOT-6, built by ASTRIUM SAS, a subsidiary of EADS, France, is an earth observation satellite, while PROITERES, developed by students and faculty of Osaka Institute of Technology, will study Kansai region of Japanese island of Honshu.
Minister in Prime Minister Office, V Narayanasamy, was also present at the spaceport.