PSLV-C23 places five satellites in orbit; PM congratulates ISRO

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) successfully put on Monday five satellites from abroad into their perfect orbits. This was the 27th PSLV launch and of these 27 lift-offs, 26 have been successful in a row, demonstrating what a reliable and robust launch vehicle the PSLV is.

It was a dedicated commercial launch in which the PSLV put into orbit SPOT satellite from France, AISAT from Germany, NLS7.1 and NLS7.2, both from Canada, and VELOX-1 from Singapore. Antrix, the commercial wing of the Department of Space, will be charging a fee for putting each of these satellites into orbit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched the launch from the Mission Control Centre (MCC) at the spaceport at Sriharikota, said the successful mission filled every Indian with pride. “I can see it reflected in the joy and satisfaction on your faces,” he said.

Mr. Modi, who addressed the ISRO scientists, engineers and technicians from the MCC, said space was “one domain where India was at the international cutting edge, a domain in which we have pushed beyond mediocrity to achieve excellence”.

The PSLV had so far put 67 satellites into orbit, of which 40 were from 19 countries, “Truly, this is a global endorsement of India’s space capabilities,” Mr. Modi said.

He wanted the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop a satellite for the exclusive use of SAARC countries, a satellite which could provide a full range of applications and services to SAARC members and India’s neighbourhood.

Space technology could play a critical role in realizing a Digital India — the power of 125 crore connected Indians, he said. Space technology was an invaluable tool in communication, disaster management, giving advanced warning of cyclones, telemedicine, tele-education and so on. “We must harness this technology for social change, economic development and resources conservation,” the Prime Minister said.

Earlier, Mr. Modi arrived at the MCC at 9.25 a.m., accompanied by ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan, B.N. Suresh, former Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, was seated next to the Prime Minister. Dr. Suresh kept answering various questions from the Prime Minister.

It was a perfect mission on Monday, with the PSLV-C23 rising majestically from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 9.52 a.m. After the PSLV’s four stages ignited on time and separated with clock-work precision, the five satellites from abroad were put into orbit with precision. The entire mission lasted about 20 minutes.

PTI report: Five satellites in space, Modi on cloud nine