Monday, April 28, 2008

India creates space history, launches 10 satellites at one go

Creating history, an Indian Polar rocket today succesfully put into orbit a record 10 satellites--two Indian and eight foreign-- at one go in a complex mission demonstrating the country's capabilities to launch multiple payloads into precise slots. After a textbook launch at 0923 hours from the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, PSLV-C9 surged into the space injecting all ten satellites into the intended orbit within minutes of each other in an important milestone for the country's space programme.

The payloads together weighing 824 kg were the heaviest carried so far by the 230-tonne rocket. A 690-kg Indian Remote Sensing Satellite Cartosat-2A was the first satellite to be successfully put into into orbit during the 12th succesful blastoff of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV)-- ISRO's "reliable and versatile" workhorse rocket.

A 83-kg Indian mini-satellite and a cluster of eight nano-satellites, each weighing between three kgs and 16 kgs, built by research institutions from Europe, Canada and Japan were the other payloads that were offloaded. " It is really a memorable moment.

The mission was perfect and for the first time, ten satellites were launched within one mission. We have set a record.

Only Russia had so far tried to launch 13 satellites in a single launch and I am not sure whether that was successful," a beaming Indian Space Researach Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair told a news conference. The launch comes ahead of India's plans to launch its first moon mission "Chandrayaan-I" expected later this year.

Launching so many satellites in a single mission is a good experience since it was quite an involved and complex task, a space official said.

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