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India successfully launches 100th space mission: Report

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Sept 9, IRNA -- India on Sunday successfully launched its 100th space mission with the indigenous PSLV-C21 rocket putting in orbit two foreign satellites.

The 44-metre PSLV took off on its 22nd flight, zoomed into the overcast skies carrying the French satellite with a lift-off mass of 712 kg, the heaviest ever to be launched by India for an international client, and the 15-kilogram Japanese micro spacecraft.

In a copybook launch, witnessed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s workhorse PSLV placed in orbit France's SPOT 6 satellite and Japanese spacecraft PROTIERES, some 18 minutes after a perfect lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh state.

The mission was described as 'a spectacular success' and a milestone by Singh, who keenly watched the entire launch sequence and applauded each stage separation culminating in the placing of the two satellites in orbit.

The launch was a landmark for Indian Space Research Organistion (ISRO) which began its space odyssey on a humble note when it launched the indigenous 'Aryabhatta' on board a Russian rocket on April 19, 1975.

The launch has yet again demonstrated the versatality and robustness of PSLV with the rocket completing its 21st successful mission in a row since its first failed flight in September 1993.

No Indian satellite was onboard today's flight which is the third wholly commercial launch undertaken by ISRO for foreign clients.

SPOT-6 is the biggest commercial lift so far since India forayed into the money spinning commercial satellite launch services after 350 kg Agile of Italy put in orbit in 2007 by PSLV. Twelve other foreign commercial satellites launched by ISRO weighed below 300 kg.

SPOT-6, built by ASTRIUM SAS, a subsidiary of EADS, France, is an earth observation satellite, while the micro satellite PROITERES, developed by students and faculty of Osaka Institute of Technology, will study Kansai region of Japanese island of Honshu.

With today's mission, the agency has launched 62 satellites, one space recovery module and 37 rockets, making it a grand 100, PTI cited ISRO sources.

Each Indian rocket going up is considered a mission as also each satellite being placed in orbit.

Meanwhile, hailing India's 100th space mission as a 'spectacular success,' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who witnessed the launch, today said it was a 'testimony' to commercial competitiveness of Indian space industry.

'As ISRO's 100th space mission, today's launch is a milestone in our nation's space capabilities,' said Manmohan Singh.

He warmly congratulated EADS Astrium of France and Osaka Institute of Technology of Japan, whose satellites 'SPOT 6' and 'PROITERES' were placed in orbit by ISRO's workhorse Polar Launch Satellite Vehicle (PSLV) in a perfect textbook launch.

'India is justly proud of its space scientists, who have overcome immense odds to set up world class facilities and develop advanced technologies,' Singh said noting this year marks the 50th anniversary of the country's space programme.

ISRO is the primary space agency of the Indian government and is amongst the six largest government space agencies in the world. Established in 1969, ISRO has achieved numerous milestones since its establishment. Over the years, ISRO has conducted a variety of operations for both Indian and foreign clients. ISRO's satellite launch capability is mostly provided by indigenous launch vehicles and launch sites.

In 2008, ISRO successfully launched its first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, while future plans include indigenous development of GSLV, manned space missions, further lunar exploration, and interplanetary probes. ISRO has several field installations as assets, and cooperates with the international community as a part of several bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80316366

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