NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India fired a rocket carrying 31 satellites into space on Thursday, including its own advanced earth observation satellite among the other smaller ones launched for eight countries.
The rocket launched from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh carried the Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) with high resolution, digital-imaging equipment to map the earth, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.
Satellites from Australia, Colombia, Malaysia and Spain were also carried for the first time by an Indian rocket, the state-run ISRO said on its website.
This latest launch is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to project India as a global low-cost provider of services in space. It comes nearly two weeks after GSAT-29, India’s heaviest satellite, was sent into space.
Just over three-quarters of the satellites launched on Thursday were U.S. contracts agreed with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.
“The highlight of this launch, #HysIS, will be India’s first hyperspectral imaging satellite! A big victory for Indian science and tech,” India’s information and broadcasting minister Rajyavardhan Rathore said on Twitter.
Images sent by HysIS, which has a mission life of five years, will be used in the agriculture and forestry sectors, and help detect industrial pollution.
Reporting by Malini Menon; editing by Darren Schuettler