India today successfully launched five foreign satellites from four countries on board PSLV-C23 rocket which placed them in orbit, an achievement described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an 'endorsement' of the country's space capabilities.
After a perfect lift off from the First Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 9.52 AM 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 after liftoff, in textbook precision.
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.
Besides its primary payload of 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, PSLV C23 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.
In his first official visit to this spaceport, Modi asked the space community to develop a SAARC satelite even as he heaped praise on Indian space scientists, recalling their contributions from the early days.
He referred to pictures showing rocket components being transported on bicycles.
A visibly elated Modi, who said it was a 'privilege' to witness the event, congratulated "our brilliant space scientists for a successful launch".
"This fills every Indian's heart with pride and I can see the joy reflected on your face," he said from the Mission Control Room, adding today's successful launch of foreign satellites was a "global endorsement of India's space capability".