Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO achieved another milestone today as it successfully launched the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV-D5 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The advanced GSAT-14 communications satellite that the rocket was carrying has also been placed into orbit.
"I am happy to say that Team ISRO has done it," ISRO chief Dr K Radhakrishnan said after what was a make-or-break launch for the space agency owing to two earlier failures.
The Rs 350-crore mission marks India's entry into the multi-billion dollar commercial launcher market on a fully indigenous large rocket. ISRO said the GSLV-D5 will be operational after one more test.
ISRO has now become the sixth space agency in the world after US, Russia, Japan, China and France to have tasted success with an indigenous cryogenic engine.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also congratulated the ISRO for the launch. "PM congratulates the scientists and engineers of ISRO for the successful launch of GSLV D5 carrying GSAT-14 payload," his office tweeted.
For over 20 years, the cryogenic technology was denied to India by Russia under pressure from the US. The launch today defies that denial regime and marks the coming of age of India's indigenous space technology. Now, India seeks to attract foreign satellite launches due to its competitive cost.
The GSLV program had suffered twin back-to-back failures three years ago and its last launch in August was aborted minutes before lift-off.
On August 19, 2013, a major mishap was averted and the launch of the GSLV was aborted 74 minutes before lift-off after ISRO scientists found that about 750 kilograms of highly inflammable and explosive fuel had leaked out in the second stage.
ISRO has announced that GSLV will be the launch vehicle for India's next moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, in 2016.