India on Saturday evening successfully launched into space as many as 10 satellites in one go, including its latest earth observation satellite (EOS-01) and nine more satellites from foreign nations, the first such mission during the Covid pandemic.
The state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the 10 satellites on board its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh's spaceport of Sriharikota around 3.15 pm IST. Within 20 minutes, the satellites were injected into their orbits, officials said.
"I congratulate ISRO and India's space industry for the successful launch of PSLV-C49/EOS-01 Mission today. In the time of COVID-19, our scientists overcame many constraints to meet the deadline," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
According to Indian space officials, EOS-01 is a highly advanced earth observation satellite aimed at helping in agriculture, forestry and disaster management planning. Saturday's launch also took the total number of foreign satellites launched by ISRO to 328. Of the nine satellites, four are from the US, four from Luxembourg and one from Lithuania.
India has often been slammed for spending money on space programmes at a time when the country has problems like poverty to deal with, but its ability to launch multiple satellites in one go, and that too at a relatively low cost, is actually firing up its position in a market worth billions of dollars.
India scripted history six years back by launching a record 104 satellites, mostly from the US, on a single mission.