India launches five foreign satellites


India has put into orbit five foreign satellites, including one built by France, to observe the earth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi watched the rocket carrying the satellites take off from Sriharikota launch centre in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

The other satellites include two from Canada and one each from Singapore and Germany.

India is emerging as a major player in the multi-billion dollar space market and has undertaken several missions.

It has also announced plans for an unmanned voyage to Mars.

Staff at the launch pad in Andhra Pradesh cheered as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – a seven-storey-high, 230-tonne rocket – took off on Monday morning.

The French satellite which weighs 714kg (1,574lb) is the rocket’s main cargo. The other satellites are much smaller and weigh between 7-15kg.

“Today’s launch of five foreign satellites is a global endorsement of India’s space capability,” Mr Modi said after the launch.

The PSLV has so far successfully launched 67 satellites, including 40 foreign ones, into space.

In 2008 the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched 10 satellites in a single mission.