India on Monday successfully launched five foreign satellites from four countries on board PSLV-C23 rocket which placed them in orbit, an achievement described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an 'endorsement' of the country's space capabilities.
After a perfect lift off from the First Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 9.52am witnessed by Modi, Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C23 placed all five satellites into their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes after liftoff, in textbook precision.
Though the Mission Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board had on Friday cleared the launch, the launch time was rescheduled to 9.52 AM today, a delay of three minutes, attributed to "probable space debris" coming in the rocket's way.
Besides its primary payload of 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, PSLV C23 carried and placed in orbit 14 kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.
In his first official visit to this spaceport, Modi asked the space community to develop a SAARC satelite even as he heaped praise on Indian space scientists, recalling their contributions from the early days.
He referred to pictures showing rocket components being transported on bicycles.
A visibly elated Modi, who said it was a 'privilege' to witness the event, congratulated "our brilliant space scientists for a successful launch".
"This fills every Indian's heart with pride and I can see the joy reflected on your face," he said from the Mission Control Room, adding today's successful launch of foreign satellites was a "global endorsement of India's space capbility".
What the PM said after the PSLV C-23 launch in Sriharikota:
#I thank the department of space, for this opportunity to witness the launch. I commend Dr K Radhakrishnan for his leadership.
# India’s space programme is a perfect example of my vision of Scale, Speed and Skill.
# Technology is central to development. It touches one and all, and is an important instrument of our national progress.
# Could we also think of developing, a state-of-the-art, interactive, digital space museum.
# I have got to meet 4 generations of scientists and this is a big sign of progress.
# I was very pleased to meet our young scientists here. I admire their work and their achievements.
# India has the potential, to be the launch service provider of the world. We must work towards this goal.
# Continued progress in space must remain a national mission. We must keep enhancing our space capabilities.
# I also ask you, to enlarge the footprint of our satellite-based navigation system, to cover all of South Asia.
# Today, I ask our Space community, to take up the challenge, of developing a Saarc Satellite.
# India's space programme, is driven by a vision of service to humanity. Not by a desire of power.
# I urge department of space, to proactively engage with all stakeholders, to maximize use of space science in governance and development.
# Accurate advanced warning, and tracking of Cyclone Phailin, saved countless lives recently.
# Satellite communication channels, often end up being the only mode of communication.
# Space technology has also evolved into an invaluable asset in disaster management.
# GIS technology has transformed policy planning, implementation. Space imaging enables modern management, conservation of water resources.
# Technology has a critical role in realising the vision of a Digital India – the power of 125 crore connected Indians.
# Such technology is fundamentally connected with the common man. As a change agent, it can empower and connect, to transform his life.
# I congratulate the scientists. This Sadhna you have done in the lab has the power to change the lives of millions of people.
# Our ancestors had conceived of ideas like ‘Shunya’ and ‘flying objects’, long before others.
# Our space journey has come a long way from the humble beginnings.
# We are proud that our programme is indigenous. Generations of scientists have worked to make India a self-reliant space power.
# Even today's satellites are from developed nations. Truly, this is a global endorsement of our space capability.
# This is a domain where we are the international cutting edge. We have achieved excellent and cut beyond mediocrity.
# This fills every Indian's heart with pride and I can see the joy and satisfaction on your faces. Feel privileged to watch this in person.
# My congratulations to our brilliant space scientists for yet another successful launch of the polar satellite.
Besides Modi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also witnessed the launch from the Sriharikota spaceport, about 100 kilometres from Chennai.
The Prime Minister had on Sunday arrived in Chennai enroute to Sriharikota to witness the event.
ISRO launches PSLV C-23 with 5 satellites
French satellite SPOT 7, identical to SPOT-6, which ISRO had launched in 2012, would be placed diametrically opposite to SPOT-6, forming part of the existing Earth observation satellite. European space technology company Airbus Defence and Space has built SPOT-7.
Germany's AISAT satellite would focus on the global sea-traffic monitoring system with special emphasis on high traffic zones using AIS signals. It is also Germany's first DLR satellite in the nano-satellite class.
NLS 7.1 and NLS 7.2 are from the University of Toronto, Institute of Aerospace Studies/ Space Flight Laboratory in Canada. Both payloads would perform Two-spacecraft precision formation flying using differential GPS with centimetre-level relative position and sub-metre level accurate position control system.
Satellite VELOX-1 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is a technology demonstrator for in-house design of image sensor, MEMS-based attitude determination and control system and inter-satellite RF link.
The five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX (ISRO's commercial arm) entered into with the respective foreign agencies.
ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries around the globe -- Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom, bringing a huge sum to the country as foreign exchange.
PM Modi lauds ISRO scientists over successful launch of PSLV C-23