Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Friday successfully launched a Cartosat-2 series weather observation satellite, along with 30 other spacecraft, using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40), which lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

“PSLV successfully launches 31 satellites in a single flight. Isro’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 42nd flight, successfully launched the 710-kg Cartosat-2 series remote sensing satellite, along with 30 co-passenger satellites today (January 12, 2018) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota," Isro said in a statement on Friday.

The PSLV-C40 successfully placed the Cartosat-2 series satellite in a sun synchronous orbit, Isro added.

Friday’s successful launch comes about four months after Isro’s PSLV-C39 failed following a technical snag involving its heat shield.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Isro scientists for the successful launch, saying the moment signified the country’s “bright future" in its space programme.

“My heartiest congratulations to @isro and its scientists on the successful launch of PSLV today. This success in the New Year will bring benefits of the country’s rapid strides in space technology to our citizens, farmers, fishermen, etc.," Modi tweeted.

“Benefits of India’s success are available to our partners. Out of the 31 satellites, 28 belonging to 6 other countries were carried by today’s launch," Modi said.

The PSLV has so far launched 51 Indian satellites and 237 satellites from customers abroad.

“Isro is starting 2018 with the successful launch of our Cartosat small satellite, Nanosat and Microsat and 28 customer satellites," A.S. Kiran Kumar, Isro’s outgoing chairman, said after the launch.

“The last launch of PSLV... whatever heat-shield problems we had faced, the committees went through rigorously and then found corrective measures that were required to make the system more robust and, today, what has happened vindicates that the problem was properly understood and rectified, and we are extremely happy to provide a New Year gift to the country," Kumar added.

Kumar will be succeeded by Dr K. Sivan later this month.

PSLV-C40 lifted off at 9.28am and soared into a cloudy sky. After a perfect flight sequence, each of which was applauded by Isro scientists, the four-stage rocket first injected the Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit about 17 minutes after lift-off. Then, India’s nano satellite and 28 payloads from six countries, including the US and the UK, weighing 613kg were released into orbit one by one in a space of about seven minutes.

In a multi-orbit manoeuvre, the micro satellite built by Isro was placed in orbit after PSLV-C40 was brought down to 359.5km in a polar sun synchronous orbit. The fourth stage was finally shut off at 2 hours 21 minutes, thus making the mission the longest ever by Isro.

PTI contributed to this story.

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