Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the successful launch of its heaviest rocket with 36 OneWeb satellites and said that it exemplifies Atmanirbharta and enhances India's competitive edge in the global commercial launch service market.
ISRO launched 36 communication satellites in its heaviest rocket in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday at 12:07 am from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota.
"Congratulations NSIL, IN-SPACe, ISRO on the successful launch of our heaviest launch vehicle LVM3 with 36 OneWeb satellites meant for global connectivity. LVM3 exemplifies Atmanirbharta & enhances India's competitive edge in the global commercial launch service market," PM Modi said in a tweet.
ISRO Chairman S Somanath conducted a special pooja on Saturday morning at Sri Chengalamma Parameshwari Devi Temple at Sullurpeta in the Tirupati district for the success of GSLV Mark-3 rocket launch.
ISRO's rocket LVM3 will carry 36 satellites of a private communications firm OneWeb, Somanath said earlier on Saturday evening.
"A 24-hour countdown to the launch has started. Another set of 36 OneWeb satellites will be launched by the LVM3 in the first half of next year," he said.
"GSLV Mark-3 rocket countdown process will continue. The GSLV Mark-3 rocket will be launched from the second launch pad at 00.07 midnight today. GSLV Mark-3 is being launched with 36 satellites in the first phase as part of the agreement of 108 satellites with the UK. Thirty-six satellites are purely for communications. PSLV and SLV rockets will be tested this year," he added.
"16 out of 36 satellites have been successfully separated safely, and the remaining 20 satellites will be separated," he said.
"We have already started the (Diwali) celebration. 16 out of 36 satellites have successfully separated safely, and the remaining 20 satellites will be separated. The data will come a little later and the operation of observing is underway," ISRO Chairman said post-launch.
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this milestone, S Somanath said, "It is a historic mission. It has been possible because of PM Modi's support as he wanted LVM3 to come into the commercial market, with NSIL in the forefront, to operationalise our launch vehicles for exploring and expanding the commercial domain."
Meanwhile, Somanath said that it is likely to launch its Chandrayan-3 mission in June next year.
Addressing a press conference after the launch of 36 communication satellites, Somanath told the reporters that mission Chandrayaan-3 is almost ready to be launched in June of next year.
"Chandrayaan-3 is almost ready. Final integration and testing are almost complete. Still, some more tests are pending, so we want to do it a little later. There were two slots available one in February and another in June. We would like to take June (2023) slot for the launch," he said.
NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a central public sector enterprise under the Department of Space, had earlier signed two launch service contracts with Bharti-backed OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company.
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