India successfully launched five satellites into orbit today, three months after the country's space ambitions suffered a setback when a rocket crashed at lift-off.
The polar satellite launch vehicle PSLV-C-15 carrying remote sensing Cartosat-2B along with four other satellites blasted off from the spaceport near Sriharikota, 80 km from Chennai, this morning. The countdown had started on Saturday morning.
The four-stage 44.4 metre tall PSLV-C-15 lifted off at the end of a 51-hour countdown from the Satish Dhawan space centre at 9.22 am. The rocket soared into skies in clear weather leaving behind plumes of smoke.
"The rocket deployed the five satellites in the intended polar orbits after a textbook launch from the spaceport under perfect weather conditions," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director S Satish said.
The satellites to be placed into orbit include Alsat from Algeria, two nano satellites from Canada and Switzerland, and a pico (very small) satellite, Studsat, built by seven engineering students of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
ISRO has been carrying out multiple launches for several years. In 2008, it set a world record by launching 10 satellites at one go.