India launches PSLV-C20; President witnesses
Sriharikota, Feb 25 : Touching a crucial landmark for India's space programme, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on Monday placed the second Indo-French satellite 'SARAL' in orbit along with six other small satellites from Canada, Austria, Denmark and the UK.
President Pranab Mukherjee was present at the event as the PSLV-C20 was blasted off at 6:01 pm local time from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at India's space port Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
It was earlier scheduled to blast-off at 5.56 pm local time.
The PSLV rocket, which is 44-metre of length, will sequentially ferry the satellites in space in a few while after the launch.
The data products that will be generated by the SARAL will aid in research in several fields like marine meteorology and sea state forecasting; operational oceanography; seasonal forecasting; climate monitoring; ocean, earth system and climate research, the officials were reported as saying.
Later this year, another rocket built alike the PSLV will ferry India's maiden mission to Mars.
This is the second time that the President of India will be present at the spot to witness a tremendous growth in the Indian space arena. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam last witnessed a PSLV launch on May 5, 2005.