ISRO chief hails country's 100th space mission

New Delhi, Sep 9 (ANI): Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Radhakrishnan on Sunday hailed the country's momentous 100th space mission, through the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21).

"This is the 100th space mission of India. Right from the days of Aryabhatta that was launched in the 1975 to now, we have 62 Indian satellites, one space recovery module and with today's PSLV 37 launch vehicle missions. So this is a major milestone in that respect," Radhakrishnan told media.

"Another milestone is that this is the heaviest customer satellite that has been launched on PSLV. You had seen two AVSR (audio-visual speech recognition) plates launched in dedicated missions of PSLV, but this is the heaviest. Not only that this is one of the world class remote sensing satellite built by France," he added.

Radhakrishnan also mentioned that prior to the PSLV-C21 launch, ISRO had undertaken 99 successful missions, including 62 satellites and 37 launch vehicles.

He also said that the proposed grand Mars project is going to be one more major milestone in the history of India's space research.

"More importantly, the Mars Orbiter Mission that had been announced on August 15 by the honourable Prime Minister, that is going to be another major milestone in that direction. Plus of course technology development, R andD (research and development), these are investment for the future," he said.

"Now coming to the money, soon we would get the indication from the Planning Commission as to what will be the allocations. So I can today talk about the missions that we have planned, allocations when we will get the money available for the Plan and what is available for the science and technology, maybe next time I will be able to tell the allocation," he added.

The space agency's old warhorse, the PSLV, blasted off into space at 9:51 a.m. with two foreign satellites from the spaceport of Sriharikota.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh witnessed the launch of PSLV C-21, carrying French advanced remote sensing satellite 720 kg SPOT-6 and its 15 kg Japanese micro satellite PROITERES.

SPOT-6 is the biggest commercial lift so far since India forayed into the money-spinning commercial satellite launch services after 350kg Agile of Italy was put in orbit in 2007 by PSLV.

Twelve other foreign commercial satellites were less than 300 kg.

France's five earlier SPOT satellites were launched by European Araine rocket.

SPOT-6, built by ASTRIUM SAS,a subsidiary of EADS, France, is an earth observation satellite, while PROITERES, developed by students and faculty of Osaka Institute of Technology, will study Kansai region of Japanese island of Honshu. (ANI)