ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has successfully launched its latest earth observation satellite (EOS-01), as well as nine satellites from customer nations, on board the PSLV-C49 launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota on Saturday evening.
This is the space agency's first launch since a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 23. An earlier launch - of the GSAT-30 telecommunication satellite - was completed in January, but that was from a base in French Guinea.
The launch took place at 3.12 PM after a 26-hour countdown. The launch was delayed by 10 minutes due to bad weather and debris in the flight path, ISRO sources told news agency PTI.
At 3.34 pm ISRO said the customer satellites had separated and been injected into their intended orbits. Six minutes earlier the space agency said India's EOS-01 satellite had separated from the fourth stage of the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket and been injected into orbit.
Shortly after the launch Prime Minister Modi tweeted, offering ISRO his congratulations.
"I congratulate ISRO and India's space industry for the successful launch of PSLV-C49/EOS-01 Mission today. In the time of COVID-19, our scientists overcame many constraints to meet the deadline," the Prime Minister said.
Nine satellites, including four each from the US and Luxembourg and one from Lithuania, have also been launched in the Mission.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 7, 2020
The PSLV is often referred to as the workhorse of India's space programme and has now completed its 51st launch. Today was also the 77th launch mission from the Sriharikota spaceport. Today's launch also means the agency has sent 328 foreign satellites (from 33 nations) into space.
According to ISRO, EOS-01 is a highly advanced earth observation satellite intended for use in supporting agriculture, forestry and disaster management planning.
The customer satellites, launched under a commercial agreement with NewIndia Space Limited (NSIL), include four from the Unitedd States that are meant for "multi-mission remote sensing".
Four of the remaining five are from Luxembourg (for maritime applications) and the other is from Lithuania (for technology demonstration).
With input from PTI