New Delhi: Indian scientists on Friday night launched five British satellites into orbit from the Sriharikota space port. The lift-off at 9.58 pm was successful, the space agency said.
For this special launch, Britain not only rented premium space from the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO, but its Surrey Satellite Technology Limited also hired an entire rocket for the first time.
The 320 tonne (320,000 kilograms) rocket is as tall as a 15-storey building and will hoist, apart from a constellation of three disaster-monitoring satellites, two smaller experimental satellites into space.
The total weight of the British satellites is 1440 kg, making this the heaviest commercial launch ever to be undertaken by India.
ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar told NDTV, "We have an exclusive commercial launch for one of our customers, UK's Surrey Technologies and this PSLV launch will carry five of their satellites."
This is the 30th launch of India's PSLV or Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Till date, India has launched 40 satellites from 19 countries on a commercial basis.