(Reuters) – India fired a rocket carrying 31 small satellites into space today (June 23), several of them for European countries looking for high resolution earth images, underlining its strength as a low-cost provider of services in space.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched a 712 kg Cartosat-2 satellite for earth observation and 30 other tiny satellites from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh at 9.29 a.m. (0359GMT).
“Congratulations to ISRO on its 40th successful Polar satellite launch … You make us proud!” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Modi’s government has been promoting the space program as a showcase of low-cost technology. In February, the ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single mission, most of them for foreign customers.
In 2015, the global space industry was valued at $323 billion, according to Space Foundation report, and India accounted for just 0.6 percent of that business.
Top and inset: India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C38, carrying Cartosat-2 and 30 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, today. Photo: Reuters /P. Ravikumar
(Reporting By Vipin Das M; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Robert Birsel)