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India launches seven satellites into orbit
February 25, 2013, 11:40 am


The launch vehicle blasts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh State, India, [Xinhua]

India has successfully launched Indo-French satellite ‘SARAL’, aimed at oceanographic studies, and six foreign mini and micro satellites onboard Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) workhorse rocket PSLV today.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee was present during the launch at the spaceport of Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

SARAL will provide data products to operational and research user communities, in support of marine meteorology and sea state forecasting; operational oceanography; seasonal forecasting; climate monitoring; ocean, earth system and climate research.

After witnessing the launch, the Indian president said: “The PSLV has become a household name in our country and this mission would only reaffirm this position through its efficacy, accuracy and reliability of this launch vehicle.”

This is the 23rd mission of PSLV, which has an impeccable record of 21 consecutive successful flights – it is the ninth time ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the rocket.

The 668.5 kgs and 44.4 metres tall rocket has a lift off mass of 229.7 tonnes.

Besides SARAL, it will put into orbit two micro-satellites UniBRITE and BRITE from Austria and AAUSAT3 from Denmark and STRaND from United Kingdom and also one micro-satellite (NEOSSat) and one mini-satellite (SAPPHIRE) from Canada.

India is stepping up its space programme with a higher budget, the launch of a new satellite and the mission to Mars.

Stressing the need for promotion of innovation, President Mukherjee said: “For India to occupy its rightful place in the comity of nations, we have to promote innovation and technological advancement. ISRO should be in the forefront of this. I am sure ISRO will be the nerve centre of innovation and creativity.”

The country’s space agency will attempt ten space missions by November 2013, bringing its total budget to $1.3 billion.

Source: Agencies