100th space mission of India. Hats off to India!

9th September, 2012 is a golden day in the history of India’s space odyssey. ISRO crosses a historic landmark on this day by launching its 100th rocket into space. Already 62 Indian satellites and 37 rockets have been launched. Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh watched the rocket launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Srikarikota and congratulated scientists immediately after the successful mission. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21) lifted off at 9:53 am (IST) on Sunday 9th September, 2012. After 17 minutes and 49 seconds, it injected the first satellite, France’s SPOT-6 (weighing 712 Kg), into orbit and after few seconds, the second micro-satellite, Japan’s PROITERES (weighing 15 Kg), into orbit. SPOT 6 was the heaviest foreign satellite launched by PSLV. This satellite is capable of imaging the earth with a high resolution. The Japanese micro satellite observes Kansai district (important for Japan's economy) in Japan with a high-resolution camera. The PSLV-C21 was the polar satellite vehicle’s 21st successful flight in a row and the 38th satellite launch vehicle to lift off from Sriharikota. India has so far put 62 Indian satellites on orbit. ISRO’s rockets have launched 62 Indian and 29 foreign satellites from Srikarikota and foreign launch pads. 37 rockets include Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

In India, Department of space was established in 1972. India’s first satellite, ARYABHATA, was launched from a Russian rocket on 29th April, 1975. India launched Chandrayan-1 on October, 2008 with the help of PSLV rocket. India’s maiden lunar mission, Chandrayaan-I, had found evidence of water on the moon. PSLV-C9 made a history by launching 10 satellites in different orbits in rapid succession on April 28, 2008. Of them 8 were nano-satellites weighing between 1 and 10 kg.

The PSLV is the work horse of Indian satellite launches. PSLV was designed and developed atVikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). It has four stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately and six strap-on boosters. At present it has capability to launch a payload of1678 kg to 622 km into sun synchronous orbit. The success rate of PSLV is very high, having 21 continuously successful flights. So far PSLV was used to launch satellites for Germany (6), South Korea, Belgium, Indonesia, Argentina, Italy, Israel, Canada (2), Japan (3), Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland (2), Turkey, Algeria, Norway, Singapore, Russia, France (2) and Luxemburg,

In the next five years ISRO is planning to have 58 overall missions. The next exciting assignment is to launch Mars Orbiter in 2013 and this Mission will start after receiving the nod of Union Cabinet. Scientists will setup multi-object tracking radar to keep track of space debris (dangerous junk in the sky). For Human Space Flight Mission Programme , India is developing a fully autonomous orbital vehicle to carry 2 or 3 crew members to about 300 km low earth orbit and their safe return. In fact India’s space research reaches a number of milestones and are still soaring high.

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