Monday, January 21, 2008

India successfully launches Israeli satellite 'Polaris'

India on Monday "successfully" launched an Israeli satellite 'Polaris' from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here by a homegrown Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), a spokesman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

This is the second time that a "core alone" PSLV configuration had put a satellite into orbit. In April 2007, an Italian satellite Agile was put into the orbit, the space agency spokesman said.

ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair, who was present when the satellite was launched at 0915 hours on Monday morning, was expected to brief the media about the "splendid achievement" later in the day, he said.

The launch of the radar-imaging, remote-sensing satellite, weighing about 300 kgs, was shrouded in secrecy.

ISRO had in the past announced date for its launches but it was not the case with this Israeli spacecraft.

The launch of the "spy satellite" was originally scheduled in September last year though no date was specified.

A section of the media speculated that the launch was abandoned following "pressure" from some countries, a claim strongly denied by Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, which cited non-resolution of technical issues as the reason for the delay.

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