Along with Megha-Tropiques, Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) also shot into space three nano satellites--VesselSat - 1 from Luxembourg, SRMSat from SRM University, Chennai, and Jugnu from IIT, Kanpur.
The four satellites were injected into orbit one after another in clockwork precision about 26 minutes after PSLV lifted off in a plume of smoke at 11 AM, in a mission described as a "grand success" by ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan.
"PSLV-C18 has been a grand success. Very precisely, four satellites were injected in space orbit and the difference between what we planned and what we achieved is just two km over an altitude of 867 km," he told scientists after the launch.
The rocket first injected the 1,000-kg Megha-Tropiques satellite into an orbit of 867 km altitude at an inclination of 20 degrees with respect to the equator.
Megha-Tropiques carries three payloads - two by French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) and one jointly by ISRO and CNES - and a complementary scientific instrument.
ISRO has built the satellite at a cost of Rs 80 crore with "equal contribution" from CNES.
Megha-Tropiques (Megha meaning cloud in Sanskrit and Tropiques denoting tropics in French) will investigate the contribution of water cycle in the tropical atmosphere to climate dynamics.
Information beamed by Megha-Tropiques is expected to benefit not only India, but also all countries in the Indian Ocean region and other parts of the world.