Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnesses PSLV C-23 launch at Sriharikota
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today witnessed the launch of Indian Space Research Organisation's PSLV C-23 rocket in Sriharikota.
This is India's fourth dedicated commercial launch, but the PSLV or Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's 27th. The PSLV costs about Rs 100 crore.
Here are 10 developments in this story:
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV lifted off at 9:52 am, carrying five satellites from four countries - France, Germany, Canada and Singapore. The rocket's main luggage is the 714 kg French earth observation satellite SPOT-7.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen applauding as the 44.4 metre, 230 ton rocket tore into the sky with flames burning at its tail.
"The success of the mission fills every Indian's heart with pride and I can see the joy and satisfaction on your faces," Mr Modi said, addressing a large group of space scientists in English. He added, "Today's satellites are from developed nations. This is a global endorsement of our space programme."
Often switching to Hindi for an aside, Mr Modi remarked, "I have heard that the Hollywood movie Gravity cost more than our Mars mission - this is a great achievement." India's Mars rocket or Mangalyaan is expected to reach the red planet on September 24.(Read: Highlights of Mr Modi's speech at ISRO)
Referencing a 1999 Kargil war hero's famous slogan, the PM said, "We have done a lot but yeh dil maange more (the heart wants more). I have proposed to our scientists that they develop a SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) satellite. This will help all our neighbours." (Watch PM Modi's full speech here)
Scientists said Mr Modi's speech reinforces that he is a space buff. As Gujarat Chief Minister, he had visited the state's remote sensing centre a record 50 times. Sources close to him say he is keen on ways of harnessing space technology in agriculture and other fields.
Soon after Mr Modi landed in Sriharikota on Sunday, he was taken to the first launch pad where senior scientists briefed him on the launch mission. Earlier, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan had also given a brief presentation to the PM on India's space programme.
ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries like Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom.
Earlier India used to buy images from countries like the US and France. Today's launch reinforces India's success in launching satellites for the West; they are also buying remote sensing images from India.
Later this year India has agreed to take on the first test flight of its monster rocket Geo Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) MK III, which will carry as an experiment, India's first crew module.