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India puts Big 5 in orbit

After witnessing the launch, PM Narendra Modi urged scientists to develop a SAARC satellite which can be dedicated as a gift to the neighbours

Sriharikota: In yet another milestone in space technology, India yesterday launched five foreign satellites on-board an indigenous rocket, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask Indian scientists to develop a SAARC satellite which can be dedicated as a ‘gift’ to the neighbours.

sriharikota

After a perfect lift-off from the First Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 9.52 am, which was witnessed by Modi, Indian Space Research Organisation’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C23 placed all five satellites into their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes of the launch, in textbook precision.

Polar Satellite
Up, Up and away: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23), carrying five foreign satellites from France, Germany, Canada and Singapore, lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota yesterday. (Below) PM Narendra Modi addresses the gathering at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.  Pics/PTI

Besides its primary payload of the 714-kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, the rocket carried and placed in orbit the 14-kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada, each weighing 15 kg, and the 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.

Modi, who witnessed the launch from ISRO’s Mission Control Room here, made a pitch for satellite diplomacy, asking scientists to develop a SAARC satellite that could be of use to India’s neighbours. In his first official visit to this spaceport, the Prime Minister said, “Today I ask you, the space community, to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India.”

“Such a satellite will be helpful in SAARC nations’ fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of SAARC countries,” he said. Though the Mission Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board had on Friday cleared the launch, the launch time was rescheduled to 9.52 am, a delay of three minutes, attributed to “probable space debris” coming in the rocket’s way. The five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX (ISRO’s commercial arm) had entered into with the respective foreign agencies.

The big five

Indian Space Research Organisation’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C23 placed all five satellites into their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes of the launch, in textbook precision.
The following satellites went up yesterday:
>> 714-kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7
>> 14-kg AISAT of Germany
>> 15-kg NLS7.1 (CAN-X4), Canada
>> 15-kg NLS7.2 (CAN-X5), Canada
>> 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore

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