PTI, SRIHARIKOTA: India today reaffirmed its space prowess and commercial launch capabilities as it successfully launched its 100th satellite along with 30 other spacecraft including weather observation Cartosat 2 series onboard the Polar rocket from here. This was PSLV's longest-ever mission.
With the successful launch, including 28 satellites from foreign countries, by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), ISRO put behind a rare failure it encountered four months ago.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had suffered a setback after the failure of the earlier PSLV-C39 mission in August last year. The previous mission to launch backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H on board PSLV-C39 had failed after the heat shield did not separate in the final leg of the launch sequence, with the satellite getting stuck in the fourth stage of the rocket.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed ISRO scientists for the successful PSLV C-40 mission. "The launch of the 100th satellite by @isro signifies both its glorious achievements, and also the bright future of India's space programme," he said a tweet.
A visibly relieved ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar, on his final mission as the chief of the space agency, said he was happy to provide Cartosat 2 Series as a New Year gift for the country.
"ISRO is starting 2018 with the successful launch... all satellites have been released. So far Cartosat performance is satisfactory," he said at the mission control room. He said the previous launch faced a heat shield problem and an ISRO committee has addressed it and taken steps to ensure the vehicle was 'robust'.
Today's mission marked a milestone in ISRO's annals with a micro satellite, among the three Indian spacecraft launched, becoming the 100th to roll out through ISRO Satellite Centre Complex (ISAC).
Besides ISRO's communication, weather observation, navigation and experimental spacecraft, the 100 satellites included nano and micro spacecraft made by educational institutions in the country, Kumar, who is retiring later this month, said.