Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.jpg
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Photograph: EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

India's space agency on Monday inserted eight satellites into two different orbits in one of its most complex and longest missions.

A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket took off from the Sriharikota spaceport at 9:12 am (0342 GMT) and placed the payloads in their prescribed orbits some two hours and 15 minutes later, agency spokesman DP Karnik said.

Besides being a complex mission, it was also the space agency's workhorse rocket, the PSLV's, longest flight, he added.

Most countries launch satellites in a single orbit and even if multiple satellites are inserted, it is in sequence in the same orbit, broadcaster NDTV reported. A twin-orbit manoeuvre was accomplished by the European Space Agency Vega rocket, it said.

"This is a challenging two-in-one mission which puts India in a unique league of nations having the capability to achieve two different orbits in a single mission," Indian Space Research Organization chief AS Kiran Kumar told NDTV.

"Our scientists keep scripting history," Premier Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.

While the main weather forecasting SCATSAT satellite was placed in a 720-kilometre orbit, two more satellites from India, three from Algeria and one each from Canada and the United States were inserted in a 670-kilometre orbit.

India is among the relatively few players in the global space launch market. It has successfully conducted a series of satellite launches in recent years.

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