Sriharikota: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch for India to be the world's low-cost space technology supplier, minutes after witnessing the launch of a rocket carrying five satellites from France, Singapore, Germany and Canada on Monday.
"Today's satellites are from developed nations. This is a global endorsement of our space programme," he said from the launch site at Sriharikota off the coast of Andhra Pradesh
The launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) bolsters India's goal of capturing more of the $304 billion annual global space market, and the PM seized the moment with an uplifting speech about India's prowess in cheap space technology. ( Watch PM Modi's full speech here )
The PM was seen applauding as the rocket weighing 230 tonnes tore into the morning skies; the heaviest part of its luggage is a French satellite that weighs about 700 kgs. (Read Highlights of PM's Speech)
"This fills every Indian's heart with pride and I can see it reflected in the joy and satisfaction on your faces," he said, adding that India's current Mars mission cost less than the budget of the Hollywood science fiction film "Gravity". He said he is following the progress of the Mars mission keenly. India's Mars rocket or Mangalyaan is expected to reach the red planet on September 24.
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."
This was the fourth commercial launch of India's workhorse rocket, the PSLV, and foreign clients expressed their satisfaction. "We got a precise orbit and the lift off was on time and we will come back to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) for another launch if required," said Phillipe Ghesquiers of Airbus Space and Defense Systems, France.