Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Sriharikota have launched a new communications satellite using the smaller of their rockets, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
PSLV-C17, using the most powerful configuration of ISRO's workhorse launch vehicle, blasted off at 4.48 pm before hurling GSAT-12 into space about 20 minutes later.
"I am extremely happy to state that the PSVL-C17/GSAT12 mission is successful. The launch vehicle injected the satellite very precisely into the intended orbit," a jubilant ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan announced amid applause by the scientists at the mission control centre.
The transponders on the satellite, G-SAT12, will be used for education, telephone and telemedicine services. It weighs 1410 kgs and costs 80 crores.
"GSAT-12 would cater to tele-medicine and tele-education services and 'more importantly' provide support for disaster management," Mr Radhakrishnan said.
India is short of transponders, and today's mission, if successful, could add 12 C-band transponders. With today's GSAT-12, India will have 175 transponders - way behind the target of 500 by 2012 set by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to meet the booming demand in telecom, direct-to-home and V-SAT operations.
The PSLV, worth 90 crores, has established itself as a workhorse rocket - this is its 19th mission. It's considered complex and unique because it entails five special orbital manoeuvres. The PSLV has to ensure that the satellite is injected into the correct geo-synchronous orbit - that will take a few days.
Neither the satellite nor the rocket are insured.
Two more launches of the PSLV are expected later this year.
The PSLV is being used because the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) is out of commission due to recent failures, including one in December which included a domestic communications satellite. Before that, the GSLV had failed in April 2010.
(With PTI inputs