India launches first space observatory

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September 28, 2015

Andhra Pradesh: A rocket carrying the ASTROSAT observatory and six foreign satellites was launched from the Satish Dahawan Space Centre in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh on Monday, officials said.

September 28, 2015

Andhra Pradesh: A rocket carrying the ASTROSAT observatory and six foreign satellites was launched from the Satish Dahawan Space Centre in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh on Monday, officials said.

The observatory, which is to orbit at a distance of 650 kilometers (404 miles) from the Earth, will detect distant celestial objects and collect and analyze data on star systems during its five-year mission life.

It will send its data to a control center in the southern city of Bangalore for assessment.

"The launch … is important for astronomical sciences," said Harsh Vardhan, Indian minister for earth sciences, in a statement. "We look forward to prospective research," the statement added.

Four of the satellites launched in conjunction with the observatory were from the United States, and two others from Indonesia and Canada.

Growing space power

Monday's launch comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to expand his country's space research program. As part of this bid, Indian scientists scored a world first on September 24 by successfully placing a satellite in orbit around Mars, at the relatively low cost of $80 million (71.6 million euros).

That success was all the more welcome in view of the fact that only some half of India's planned 60 space missions from 2007 to 2012 were accomplished, partly owing to a lack of heavier launchers.

In December, India successfully tested a new and more powerful rocket that could put heavier payloads into space, but it has not yet gone into operation.


Courtesy: DW