New Delhi: Making history in its space odyssey, India on Sunday successfully launched its 100th mission with its workhorse PSLV-C21 placing in orbit two foreign satellites in a flawless flight from the spaceport in Sriharikota.
The third wholly commercial launch with no Indian satellite was a textbook mission as ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle placed in orbit French spacecraft SPOT 6 and Japanese micro satellite PROITERES some 18 minutes after lift-off at 9:53 am.
The lift-off was delayed by two minutes at the end of the 51-hour countdown to avoid collision with space debris. The historic mission was described as a "spectacular success" by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who keenly watched the launch sequence at the mission control centre at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 110 km from Chennai.
"I warmly congratulate the Department of Space and all members of Indian Space Research Organisation fraternity for this spectacular success," he told the scientists minutes after the successful launch.
Describing the mission as a milestone in the nation's space capabilities, he said the launch was "testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity".
A timeline of ISRO's major achievements:
1962 – Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) sets up Indian National Committee for Space Research. Work starts on Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
1963 – First sounding rocket launched from TERLS on November 21.
1965 – Space Science and Technology Centre set up in Thumba.
1968 – Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station set up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
1969 – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed on August 15 under the DAE.
1971 – Satish Dhawan Space Centre (formerly SHAR Centre) formed in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
1972 – Department of Space (DoS) established and ISRO brought under it. ISRO Satellite Centre set up in Bangalore and Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad.
1975 – Satellite Instructional Television Experiment using a US satellite. First Indian satellite, the Aryabhatta, launched into space on April 19.
1977 – Satellite Telecommunication Experiments Project (1977-79) using Franco-German Symphonie Satellite.
1979 – Bhaskara-1, an earth observation experimental satellite, launched. First experimental launch of Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-3) carrying the Rohini satellite. The satellite is not placed in the orbit.
1980 – Second experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini. Mission is successful.
1981 – First developmental launch of SLV-3. Rohini placed into orbit. Launch of APPLE, an experimental geo-stationary communication satellite. Launch of Bhaskara-2 by an USSR rocket.
1982 – Insat-1A communication satellite launched via a US rocket.
1983 – Second developmental flight of SLV-3 places Rohini into orbit. Insat system commissioned with launch to Insat-1B satellite.
1984 – First Indian cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, spends eight days in Russian space station Salyut 7. He flew in Russian rocket Soyuz T-11.
1987 – First development launch of Augmented SLV (ASLV) with satellite SROSS-1. Mission fails.
1988 – Launch of Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite – IRA-1A through a Russian rocket. Second developmental flight of ASLV with SROSS satellite. Mission failed.
1991 – Second operational remote sensing satellite IRS-1B launched.
1992 – First successful launch of ASLV placing SROSS-C satellite. Launch of Insat-2A, the first satellite of the indigenously-built second generation Insat series, followed by the 3 and 4 series.
1993 – First development flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with IRS-1E. Mission failed.
1994 – Fourth developmental flight of ASLV with SROSS-C2. Mission successful. Successful launch of PSLV placing IRS-P2 in orbit.
1996 – Third developmental launch of PSLV with IRS-P3, on board. Satellite placed in polar sunsynchronous orbit.
1997 – First operational launch of PSLV carrying IRS-1D.
1999 – PSLV started carrying foreign payloads (Korean and German satellites) along with ISRO's satellite Oceansat.
2001 – Successful launch of heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with GSAT-1 satellite. Launch of PSLV with India’s Technology Experimental Satellite and satellites from Belgium and Germany.
2002 – ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C4, successfully launched KALPANA-1 satellite from Sriharikota.
2003 – Launch of GSAT-2 on board GSLV and Resourcesat-1 by PSLV.
2004 – Launch of Edusat by GSLV's first operational flight.
2005 – Commissioning of second launch pad at Sriharikota. Launch of Cartosat-1 and Hamsat by PSLV.
2006 – Second operational flight of GSLV with Insat-4C. For the first time, an Indian rocket carried a communication satellite. The mission failed.
2007 – Launch of Cartosat-2 with Space Capsule Recovery Experiment and two foreign satellites and successful recovery of the space capsule. Launch of Italian satellite AGILE by PSLV and Insat-4CR by GSLV.
2008 – PSLV-C11 successfully launches CHANDRAYAAN-1 from Sriharikota.
2009 – PSLV-C14 successfully launches Seven Satellites - OCEANSAT-2, Four CUBESAT Satellites and Two RUBIN-9 from Sriharikota.
2010 – Two GSLV missions fail. Cartosat-2B, STUDSAT and three small foreign satellites launched by PSLV.
2011 – PSLV-C18 successfully launches Megha-Tropiques, Jugnu, SRMSat and VesselSat-1 from Sriharikota. Successful launch of GSAT-12 from Sriharikota.
2012 – Launch of Risat-1 by PSLV. Launch of French satellite SPOT-6 and Japanese satellite PROITERES.
(With additional information from PTI)