Basic Astronomy

ISRO completes its 100th space mission

10th September: Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) made history after they successfully launched PSLV-C21, marking the 100th space mission by them. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully blasted off into space on 9th September 2012 at 9:53 am from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The rocket carried into space two foreign satellites, SPOT 6, a French 712 kg remote sensing satellite and Proiteres, a 15 kg Japanese satellite.

ISRO 100th space mission

The launch was delayed by two minutes from its scheduled time as scientists were waiting for some space debris to move from the path of the mission.

This is third fully commercial launch of PSLV.

PSLV has a record of only one failure.

Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh, who was present at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota to witness the landmark event, described ISRO's 100th space mission as "a milestone" after the successful launch of its rocket carrying two foreign satellites. ISRO's 100th space mission "is a milestone in our nation's space capabilities...The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity." described the Indian prime minister.

India has come a long way since it launched its first satellite, Aryabhatta, on 19th April 1975. So far, the Indian government has spent around $12 billion on ISRO which is even less than the annual budget of the US' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ($17 billion). Even then the space agency has, to its credit, some major achievements.

So far, ISRO has launched 63 Indian made satellites and 36 indigenous rockets. Chandrayaan-1, the country's first unmanned moon mission in October 2008 was a huge success.

India also plans to launch its maiden mission to Mars in 2013. Mangalyaan will be an unmanned orbiting mission to study the atmosphere of Mars.

In the next five years, ISRO is also scheduled to have nearly 60 more missions.

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