SRIHARIKOTA (AP), June 30 � In yet another milestone in space technology, India today launched five foreign satellites on board an indigenous rocket, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask Indian scientists to develop a SAARC satellite which can be dedicated as a �gift� to the neighbours, reports PTI.
After a perfect lift-off from the First Launch Pad in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 9.52 am which was 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 of the launch, in textbook precision.
Besides its primary payload of 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, the rocket 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.
Modi, who witnessed the launch from ISRO�s Mission Control Room here, made a pitch for satellite diplomacy, asking scientists to develop a SAARC satellite that could be of use to India�s neighbours.
In his first official visit to this spaceport, the Prime Minister said, �Today I ask you, the space community, to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India.
�Such a satellite will be helpful in SAARC nations� fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of SAARC countries.�
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.
The five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX (ISRO�s commercial arm) entered into with the respective foreign agencies.
India�s age-old ethos of �vasudhaiva kutumbakam� (the world is a family) spurred the need for a SAARC satellite, Modi said, adding the fruits of technological advancement must be shared with those who do not enjoy them.