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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
India launches polar satellites
The satellite will be placed in a band above the equator
By Habib Beary in Bangalore

India has successfully launched a polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) from the southern coastal town of Sriharikota.

The launch date was kept under wraps because of security concerns in the wake of the 11 September terror attacks on the United States.

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the southern city of Bangalore said the 44 metre rocket made a smooth take off.

The rocket carried an Indian technology experiment satellite which is equipped for communication and remote sensing experiments.

Two other tiny satellites, one from the European Space Agency and the other from Germany, rode piggyback on the 1,000 kg Indian satellite.

Both those satellites are technology demonstration satellites.

The PSLV was first launched in 1994 and was developed to place satellites weighing one tonne or more into polar sun synchronous orbits - which makes the satellite move along the earth's poles while being aligned with the position of the sun.

Commercial launches

ISRO is paid for carrying these satellites but it is not known how much.

Scientists said successful multiple launches like the one on Monday would help India enter the multi-billion dollar satellite launch market now dominated by France, United States and Russia.

India's main challenge, however, is to launch bigger satellites further deep into space.

The maiden launch of a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle potentially capable of launching considerably heavier satellites failed in March this year.

See also:

26 Apr 01 | South Asia
India satellite 'to be written off'
18 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Indian rocket blasts off
31 May 99 | South Asia
Lift-off for Indian space rocket
28 Apr 99 | South Asia
India enters space market
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