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ASTROSAT — India’s first fully dedicated space observatory satellite has been successfully launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its maiden attempt on 29 September 2015. With the successful launching, India joined the elite group of nations that have launched their space observatory satellites. ISRO also blasted six foreign co-satellites including one micro satellite each from Canada and Indonesia and four nano satellites from the US.

According to an ISRO official, “The  mission  envisages an  earth orbiting scientific satellite with payloads capable of simultaneously observing the universe in the visible, ultraviolet and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

The satellite has the capability to observe multiple wavelengths including ultraviolet and X-rays which will help scientists in studying distant star, white dwarfs and pulsars. In addition, it will also study the super massive black hole situated at the centre of our galaxy Milky Way. According to ISRO, equipments of satellite are designed to train itself while observing the black hole.

ISRO’s low-cost 1.5 ton satellite was launched by a trusted Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-30. ASTROSAT which is injected into a 650 km orbit is equipped with one UV telescope, a charge particle monitor and will carry four  X-ray payloads.Canadian Space Agency and University of Leicester, UK have helped in designing two of the payloads. Payload of the satellite was developed by ISRO along with four other Indian institutions — Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute.

India is only the fourth nation to achieve the feat after the US, Russia and Japan.

“Well done @isro. This is one more grand accomplishment for Indian science & our scientists,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Moreover, ISRO marked another milestone by launching six foreign satellites. As stated on the website of ISRO, it has launched 81 satellites including 51 foreign satellites by PSLV during 1994-2015. On 26 May 1999, ISRO helped foreign nations for the first time by launching two satellites — KITSAT-3 satellite for the Republic of Korea and DLR-TUBSAT of Germany and it took another 16 years to hit the half century.

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