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The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro’s) 100th space mission, PSLV–C21, carrying two foreign satellites, was launched successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal about 80 km from here, in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The mission carried the French earth observation satellite, SPOT-6, along with a micro-satellite, PROITERES, from Japan, to the space.
The rocket was launched at 9.53 am, with a mission to inject the two satellites into an orbit at 655 km.
After witnessing the launch, the PM said, “As Isro’s 100th space mission, today’s launch is a milestone in our nation’s space capabilities. The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity.”
On criticism against funding of space programmes in a poor country, he said a nation’s state of development was finally a product of its technological prowess.
With a lift-off mass of 712 kg, SPOT-6 is the heaviest satellite to be launched for an international customer since the launch of foreign satellites began in 1999.
The Japanese PROITERES, carried as an auxiliary payload, had a lift-off mass of 15 kg. These two are the 28th and 29th foreign satellites to be launched by Isro.
The launch of SPOT-6 is part of a long-term agreement between Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Isro, and Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.