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Upanishads to Upagraha: India's giant leap


India successfully launched its indigenously prepared PSLV-C23
Taking a giant leap in aerospace technology, India on Monday successfully launched indigenously prepared PSLV-C23. The historical moment at Sriharikota's Satish Dhawan Space Centre marked by the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu among others.

This is India's fourth fully commercial launch, but 27th launch of PSLV. It is carrying five satellites from four countries namely France, Germany, Canada and Singapore. The PSLV-C23 which is standing around 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 230 ton will take away SPOT-7, NLS-7.1 (CanX-4), NLS-7.2 (CanX-5) and AISat satellites. The launch vehicle costs Rs. 100 crores.

Congratulating scientists for the launch of PSLV C23 rocket, Prime Minister Modi said that every Indian should feel proud of the moment. "We are proud that our program is indigenous. Generations of scientists have worked to make India a self-reliant space power," he said.

Further, highlighting India's rich heritage, the Prime Minister said India has come a long way from Upanishads to Upagraha. "India has a rich heritage of science & technology & our relationship with science is deeply rooted with knowledge."

What PSLV-C23 is carrying away:

The rocket's main luggage is the 714 kg French earth observation satellite SPOT-7. Piggybacking on the main luggage are the four small satellites viz: 14-kg AISAT of Germany; NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) from Canada each weighing 15 kg; and the 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.

The five satellites are from four countries - France, Germany, Canada and Singapore.

French satellite SPOT 7, identical to SPOT-6, which ISRO had launched in 2012, would be placed diametrically opposite to SPOT-6, forming part of the existing Earth observation satellite. European space technology company Airbus Defence and Space has built SPOT-7.

Germany's AISAT satellite would focus on the global sea-traffic monitoring system with special emphasis on high traffic zones using AIS signals. It is also Germany's first DLR satellite in the nano-satellite class.

NLS 7.1 and NLS 7.2 are from the University of Toronto, Institute of Aerospace Studies/ Space Flight Laboratory in Canada. Both payloads would perform Two-spacecraft precision formation flying using differential GPS with centimetre-level relative position and sub-metre level accurate position control system.

ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries.

Satellite VELOX-1 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is a technology demonstrator for in-house design of image sensor, MEMS-based attitude determination and control system and inter-satellite RF link.

What makes this development a landmark?

India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket and till date, it has completed over 100 space missions including missions to moon and mars. Starting from 1999, India has launched 35 foreign satellites till date using the PSLV rocket, the first operational launch vehicle of ISRO. The successful launch of five satellites on Monday have now taken the tally to 40. As rightly said by Prime Minister, this successful launch puts India in an elite group of 5 to 6 countries who are self sufficient in developing space technology. This, in a way, is a global endorsement of India's space capability and will further add to India's image at world forum.

All Satellite launched today were from developed nations and it proves that India has the potential to become the leader in providing launch services to the world.

How it will be a boost to India?

Undoubtedly, it is a step ahead towards making India a self-reliant space power. After successful launch of Chandrayaan, first unmanned lunar probe (exploration of Moon) in October 2008 and Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission) on November 5, 2013, this development will not only add to image of India but will be beneficiary in number of ways. Becoming self sufficient in space technology will be revenue generator. If India through its indigenously prepared vehicle, start offering launch services to the countries it would add to the revenue. ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries bringing a huge sum to the country as foreign exchange.

In his speech, Modi highlighted the need of technology, he said, "Technology is central to development. It touches one and all, and is an important instrument of our national progress." Modi said the country should develop more advanced satellites. As it is only satellites which help people like farmers, fisherman, and other agricultural professionals-on the ground a lot- by giving weather predictions. Their weather predictions have also helped in times of natural disaster, as they are used to evacuate civilians from dangerous areas preemptively. Recently, the timely update from the satellites saved countless lives when cyclone Phailin hit the Odisha coast. The loss of life due to Uttarakhand tragedy in July 2013, the 2004 Tsunami could have been avoided if we had up-to-date satellite technology.

Modi today said, "India's space programme is a perfect example of my vision of Scale, Speed and Skill." With this we could expect much more revolutionary steps ahead. As clearly said by Prime Minister 'yeh dil maange more' we should not stop here and keep working towards achieving goals to make India a self sufficient nation in every aspects.

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