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Isro launches PSLV-C23 with 5 foreign satellites

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)’s polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV)-C23 was launched successfully on Monday from the first launch pad of Sriharikota space station here, about 100 km north of Chennai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers witnessed the launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre .

The PSLV-C23 lifted off from the spaceport at 9.52 am on Monday instead of 9.49 am as was decided earlier. This is because Isro had to delay the launch by three minutes to avoid the threat of space debris getting in the way of the satellites.

The launch vehicle, PSLV-C23, with a height of 44.4 metres, carried with it SPOT-7, a 714-kg French earth-observing satellite as the main payload, which was injected into a 655-km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). The other satellites being carried by PSLV-C23 include the 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.

Till April 2014, there had been 25 consecutive successful flights of PSLV and this is the 26th such launch.  Meanwhile, PSLV-C23 is the 10th flight of PSLV in ‘core-alone’ configuration, which means a configuration without the use of solid strap-on motors.

After an estimated time of 20 minutes, Isro’s workhorse PSLV separated all five satellites — one by one into their intended orbit. All the satellites were separated as planned, Isro said in a statement.

SPOT-7 is a French optical earth observation satellite identical to SPOT-6 launched earlier on-board PSLV-C21 in September 2012. SPOT-7, after its injection into the SSO, will be phased and placed diametrically opposite to SPOT-6 and will form part of the existing earth observation constellation.

Modi praised the cost-effective nature of Indian space programme, saying the country’s Mars mission had reportedly cost less than the Hollywood science fiction Gravity, said a PTI report. Mangalyaan was launched in November 2013 at an estimated cost of $ 72 million. The movie was reportedly made at an estimated $ 100 mn.

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