India today successfully launched its 100th space mission with the indigenous PSLV-C21 rocket putting in orbit two foreign satellites. In a copybook launch, witnessed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ISRO’s workhorse PSLV placed in orbit France’s SPOT 6 satellite and Japanese spacecraft PROITERES, some 18 minutes after a perfect lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.
The launch, scheduled for 9.51 AM, was delayed by two minutes at the end of the 51-hour countdown. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), on its 22nd flight, soared into an overcast sky at 9.53 AM carrying the 720 kg French satellite, the heaviest satellite to be launched by India for a foreign client. The mission was described as “a spectacular success” and a milestone by Singh, who keenly watched the entire launch sequence and applauded each stage separation culminating in the placing of the two satellites in orbit. The launch was a landmark for Indian Space Research Organistion (ISRO) which began its space odyssey on a humble note when it launched the indigenous ‘Aryabhatta’ on board a Russian rocket on April 19, 1975.
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