Prez, VP, PM congratulate ISRO team on Chandrayaan launch

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) Congratulatory messages from leaders poured in today hailing India's giant leap into space with the launch of an unmanned spacecraft to successfully launched the Chandrayaan-1 satellite, marking the historic beginning of India's first scientific mission to the Moon.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil congratulated the ISRO team for the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, saying "this day shall go down as a landmark in our space programme, a day which will inspire our space scientists to further work on our mission to put an Indian astronaut into space using an Indian space capsule." Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari greeted G Madhavan Nair and his ISRO team for the successful launch of 'Chandrayaan I'. In his message, he said the space scientists had made the country proud with "this extraordinary achievement that expands the scientific knowledge about the Moon and demonstrates the high level of technological capabilities of the country's scientists." ''I congratulate our space scientists and all those associated with this successful mission to the Moon for this splendid achievement,'' Mr Ansari said.

In Tokyo, an overjoyed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the scientists on the successful launch of India's first unmanned spacecraft to moon, describing it as the first step in the historic milestone of the country's space programme.

''When completed, the mission will put India in the very small group of six countries which have thus far sent space missions to the moon. Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them,'' Dr Singh said in a glowing tribute to the Indian scientific community.

Besides the ISRO team, he also congratulated the space agencies of the US and Bulgaria as well as the European Space Agency who had contributed to this mission.

Defence Minister A K Antony spoke to the Chairman of ISRO over phone and said the country was proud of the achievements of its scientists. Wishing all success to the scientists for the next stages of the mission, the minister described the mission as a bold step to catapult India to the select group of nations having the capability to undertake such scientific missions of gigantic nature.

In a message, US ambassador to India David C Mulford said ''the US congratulates India on the successful launch. This is a proud moment in Indian history and demonstrates India's technological prowess by joining the international community in the peaceful exploration of space,'' he said in a statement here.

The Ambassador said the United States was proud to participate in Chandrayaan-I by providing two instruments for the mission.

''Ahead of today's launch, scientists from the United States worked closely with their Indian partners to prepare the U S contribution to the Chandrayaan spacecraft, exemplifying the ideals of our bilateral partnership," he added.


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