New Delhi: The hundredth space mission programme of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took off on Sunday at 9.51 am from the space centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The historic milestone comes in the form of two foreign satellites that will be put in orbit by ISRO's workhorse PSLV rocket.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh witnessed the launch of PSLV C-21 that is carrying French advanced remote sensing satellite 720 kg SPOT-6 and its 15 kg Japanese micro satellite PROITERES. The mission is without any Indian satellite.
Congratulating ISRO on the launch, the PM said he hoped ISRO would scale greater heights.
India is expected to earn over Rs 100 crore from the launch.
The 51-hour countdown began at 6.51 am on Friday.
From the time of its humble beginnings when it launched the indigenous 'Aryabhatta' in Russia on April 19, 1975, it has been a long and successful odyssey for ISRO.
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.
(With additional information from PTI)