India launched the PSLV C-21 rocket today on its 100th space mission from Sriharikota.
The 51-hour count down for the 100th mission of the Indian space agency, slated for 9 September, began on Friday at 6.51 am at the Sriharikota satellite launch centre in Andhra Pradesh, an official said.
Carrying French and Japanese satellites, an Indian rocket —Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — blasted off at 9.51 am on Sunday.
"All the countdown preparations will be done. Filling of liquid fuel in the fourth stage/engine and the control systems will start on Friday. On Saturday, the fuel for the second stage/engine will be filled," an Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) official told reporters on Thursday.
The 715-kg French satellite, SPOT 6, which is an earth observation satellite, is the heaviest foreign satellite to be launched by PSLV so far. Here are some facts about Isro:
* Isro started its missions with the launch of Aryabhatta, the first indigenous satellite, on 19 August, 1975.
* The objective of Isro is to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks.
Accordingly, the organisation has successfully operationalised two major satellite systems: namely Indian National Satellites (INSAT) for communication services and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for management of natural resources; also, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching IRS satellites and Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for launching INSAT satellites.
* Dr Vikram A Sarabhai is considered the founding father of space programmes in India and he formed Isro on 15 August, 1969.
* Satellites are made at ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore. ISRO's Launch facility is located at SDSC SHAR from where Launch Vehicles and Sounding Rockets are launched. Sounding rockets are also launched from TERLS at Thiruvananthapuram.
* The space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) was renamed the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1972 in honor of Dr Vikram Sarabahi who passed away on 30 December, 1971.
*Isro has carried 32 launch vehicle missions from India as of May 2012. EDUSAT-1 weighing 1950 kg and launched by GSLV-FOI on September 20, 2004 is the heaviest satellite launched from India.
* ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation and French company Astrium SAS compete in the global market for vending remote sensing satellite imageries.
* The SPOT and Indian remote sensing satellites are the two leading earth observation satellite series.
* Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to witness the 100th mission at Sriharikota. He will reach the launch centre on Saturday evening.
(With inputs from IANS)