India on Wednesday successfully launched its fifth navigation satellite IRNSS-1E on-board the workhorse PSLV-C31 in Sriharikota, taking another step join a group of nations equipped with own satellite navigation systems like the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS).
In a precise textbook launch, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C 31 blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), about 110 km from Chennai at 9.31 AM and released the satellite into the orbit 19 minutes and 20 seconds later.
This is the 32 nd consecutively successful mission of PSLV and the eleventh in its 'XL' configuration.
IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, comprising seven satellites, which would be on par with US-based GPS once the full complement of spacecraft is launched.
As the rocket soared into the clear blue sky at the end of the 48 hour countdown, all the four stages of PSLV executed their functions as programmed, to the joy of ISRO scientists at the mission control centre.
After the satellite's injection into geo synchronous transfer orbit (GTO), the two solar panels of IRNSS-1E will be automatically deployed in quick succession.
The Master Control Facility in Hassan (Karnataka) would then take control of the satellite to perform orbit raising operations.
Though the earlier four satellites would be sufficient to start operations of the IRNSS system, the remaining three would make it more accurate and efficient.
Lauding the "dynamism and determination" of ISRO scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they have made the country proud.
"Congratulating the dynamism & determination of @isro & our scientists on successful launch of PSLV C31 & putting IRNSS-1E in orbit precisely", he said on twitter.
"Spoke to the scientists at @isro & congratulated them on their accomplishment today. Our scientists keep making us proud", Modi said.
President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the ISRO team on the launch.
"Heartiest congratulations to ISRO team on the successful launch," he said.