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India Launches 31 Satellites In Single Space Mission

NEW DELHI, June 23 (Xinhua) — India successfully launched 31 satellites, including an earth observation satellite, in a single space mission Friday from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota.

The state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) most trusted rocket Polas Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota with the Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite and 30 other nano satellites at 9.29 a.m. local time (0359 GMT).

Within 16 minutes of the launch, the rocket placed the Cartosat-2 satellite, the sixth in the Cartosat-2 series, in orbit and subsequently ejected 30 other nano satellites, including 29 from foreign countries, and vaulted them into orbit successfully.

ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar declared the mission a success and praised the space scientists for the perfect launch of the 31 satellites in a single mission on the 40th flight of PSLV.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also lauded the space agency’s achievement. “Congratulations to ISRO on its 40th successful Polar satellite launch carrying 31 satellites from 15 countries. You make us proud!” Modi tweeted.

The 712-kg Cartosat-2 satellite, also called India’s eye-in-the-sky, will regularly provide remote sensing services, using its panchromatic and multispectral cameras.

The imagery sent by the satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps and for geographical information system applications.

Among the other 30 nano satellites, 29 are from 14 foreign countries such as Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Britain and the United States.

The 30th one is a 15-kg satellite called NIUSAT from India. It has been made by Noorul Islam University in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which will help in agriculture, particularly crop monitoring and disaster management.

The launch of the 31 satellites in a single space mission is one feather in the cap of ISRO that had earlier this month successfully launched its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mk III.

In February this year, India created history by successfully launching 104 satellites in one go, overtaking the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014.

India’s ambitious space programme has earned a reputation of offering a reliable low-cost alternative to existing international players. Over the past two decades, India has become a key player in the lucrative commercial space market.

 

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