New Delhi: In an important landmark for the Indian space program, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV today placed the second Indo-French satellite 'SARAL' and six other co-passengers or small satellites from Canada, Austria, Denmark and the UK in orbit.
Here's a 10-point cheat-sheet on the launch:
The PSLV-C20, which was earlier slated for blast-off at around 6 pm local time from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, was delayed by five minutes.
President Pranab Mukherjee witnessed the launch, the first of the 10 planned events of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) this year. (Read: President Pranab Mukherjee hails ISRO for successful PSLV launch) Mr Mukherjee is the second President after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to witness a PSLV launch; Dr Kalam was present in Sriharikota during one such launch on May 5, 2005.
It is the 23rd consecutive launch for the 44-metre-tall rocket; it sequentially dropped off the satellites in space in less than half an hour after the lift-off. Later this year, a similar rocket will ferry India's maiden mission to Mars, Mangalyaan.
PSLV has an impeccable record of 21 consecutive successful flights. The successful launch takes ISRO's tally of launching foreign satellites to 35.
The ISRO-built SARAL is a 410-kg satellite with payloads - Argos and Altika - from French space agency CNES for enhancing the understanding of the ocean state conditions.
Altimetre (Altika) would help study the sea surface heights while Argos payload is a satellite-based data collection platform. The satellite will also be useful in tracking resident space objects, including space debris.
ISRO started putting into space third-party satellites for a fee in 1999 on its PSLV-C2 rocket. Since then India has been successful in launching medium-weight satellites for overseas agencies.
Initially, ISRO started carrying third-party satellites atop its rockets as co-passengers of its own remote sensing/earth observation satellites.
Later in 2007, ISRO launched an Italian satellite Agile as a standalone luggage for a fee.
India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket and till date, it has completed 100 missions.
Story First Published: February 25, 2013 13:43 IST