India launches five satellites into orbit
India successfully launched five satellites into orbit on Monday, three months after the country's space ambitions suffered a setback when a rocket crashed at lift-off.
The five satellites included an advanced remote sensing satellite called Cartosat-2B, as well as a satellite from Algeria.
Three other smaller experimental devices from India, Canada and Switzerland were also released.
"The rocket deployed the five satellites in the intended polar orbits after a textbook launch from the spaceport under perfect weather conditions," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director S. Satish told AFP.
The launch site was at Sriharikota, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Chennai.
In April an Indian rocket showcasing domestically-built booster technology crashed soon after lift-off from the same site.
The first Indian-made cryogenic powered rocket, a complex technology mastered by just five countries, fell into the Bay of Bengal due to a component failure.
India aims to launch its first manned space mission in 2016 and wants to grab a larger share of the multi-billion-dollar market for launching commercial satellites.
Last August India's first unmanned moon mission, launched amid much fanfare in 2008, came to an abrupt end when controllers lost contact with the craft.
But gloom turned to delight in September when data collected from the mission showed water on the moon, boosting India's credibility.
India began its space programme in 1963 and has developed its own satellites and launch vehicles to cut dependence on other countries.
(c) 2010 AFP