September 23, 2009

India Launches Seven Satellites In One Mission

India announced Wednesday the launch of seven satellites in a single day.

The successful launch of six foreign and one domestic satellite from the Sriharikota space center came less than one month after the country ended its Moon mission.

The Oceansat-2 satellite will monitor ocean patterns, wind speeds, and track monsoons and cyclones, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) spokesman S Satish told BBC News.

The satellite will improve upon the first Oceansat, which launched in 1999.

Four of the additional satellites came from Germany, while both Switzerland and Turkey had one each.

The launch marks the 16th mission for India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

"Once again we have proved that we can do the job precisely. The satellites have been placed in the desired orbit at the exact time," said ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

Satish said the launch cost two billion rupees ($40 million) "“ 1.3 billion rupees for the satellite and 700 million for the launch vehicle.

India launched its space program in 1963. Last month, the agency prematurely ended its Moon mission after it lost contact with the craft.

The $100 million unmanned Chandrayaan-1 craft was launched October 22, 2008. The ISRO said had initially planned for the mission to last 24 months.

However, Satish said that the lunar mission had completed about 95 percent of its objectives.

"We have found that all the instruments on the spacecraft worked satisfactorily and the entire scientific instruments have performed. That is how we could collect a large volume of data," ISRO chairman Nair said last month.

"We survived for 315 days, which is a good record. Many such experiments have burnt within a month in the past."


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