Hailing scientists for the successful launch of PSLV C20, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday urged them to be in the forefront of promotion of innovation and use of socially relevant technologies.

Mr. Mukherjee, who witnessed the PSLV launch from the Mission Control Centre of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) here, congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on the successful launch.

Later addressing scientists and engineers, the President said Isro was enjoying tremendous trust among the countrymen, and this faith and confidence put the onus back on the organisation to enhance its performance, scale greater heights and explore newer frontiers.

If India were to occupy its rightful place in the comity of nations, there was a strong need for promotion of innovation and technological advancement. “Isro should be in the forefront of such movement.”

“Lower cost”

Stating that it was imperative to address the demands of the country’s population, Mr. Mukherjee said emphasis should be placed on promotion of socially relevant uses of technologies so that they would help in meeting the country’s development goals. “Our endeavour must be to lower the cost of access to space through greater innovation and drive towards technological refinement.”

Earlier, Mr. Mukherjee arrived here at 12.36 p.m. by a helicopter from Chennai. He was received by Isro Chairman K. Radhakrishnan.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and a host of State and Central ministers were present. Mr. Mukherjee was staying for the night at Sriharikota and would leave for New Delhi on Tuesday morning. After the successful launch of the PSLV, Dr. Radhakrishnan introduced to the President S. Ramakrishnan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram; M.Y.S. Prasad, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota; S.K. Shiva Kumar, Director, Isro Space Centre, Bangalore; A.S. Kiran Kumar, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad; M.C. Dathan, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre; P. Kunhikrishnan, Mission Director of PSLV C-20; and V.K. Dadhwal, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad.

The President’s visit and the success of Monday’s launch triggered jubilation among Isro scientists.

A thick security blanket was spread in and around the Sriharikota space centre following the visit of VVIPs.