iss045e048728 svemir.jpg
Photograph: Nasa.gov

India's space agency launched 20 satellites including 17 foreign payloads on Wednesday, setting a new record for the country's space programme.

The Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) took off from Sriharikota spaceport in southern India at around 9:30 am (0400 GMT) and placed the satellites in their prescribed orbits 26 minutes later.

"20 satellites in a go! ISRO continues to break new barriers," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said congratulating the Indian scientists.

"Our space programme has time and again shown the transformative potential of science and technology in people’s lives," he added.

The main passenger on the rocket was India's earth observation satellite Cartosat-2, which can take images at sub-metre resolution and weighs 727.5 kilograms.

Seventeen small satellites including 13 from the United States, two from Canada, and one each from Germany and Indonesia were also injected in low-earth orbit.

Two satellites from Indian universities were also among the passengers. The US payloads included an earth-imaging satellite made by Terra Bella, a Google-owned company.

In 2008, India launched 10 satellites in one rocket, setting a world record that was broken several times in subsequent years.

Nasa in 2013 placed 29 satellites on a single mission, while Russia did 37 satellites in one launch in 2014.

India has joined the relatively few players in the multi-billion-dollar space launch market some four decades after it launched its first satellite, Aryabhatta, in 1975.

The 20 satellites launched Wednesday weighed 1,288 kilogrammes and cost about half of what is incurred by other space agencies, the broadcaster NDTV reported.

ISRO scientists called the launch a milestone in the country’s ambitious space programme. In the past few years, India has notched significant achievements in space, including sending probes to the moon and to Mars.

Related stories

India launches record 104 satellites in single mission

India launches rocket with new cryogenic technology

China launches record-breaking 20th rocket into high orbit

Latest news

Danish premier and opposition leader reject EU referendum

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the leader of the main opposition Social Democrats both reject staging a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union as suggested by eurosceptics.

French PM slams "irresponsible" Fillon over "near-civil war" comment

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve hit back Monday at conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon, accusing him of being "irresponsible" for saying the race was taking place in a climate of "near-civil war."

Serbia opens two more policy areas in its EU accession talks

Serbia on Monday opened two new policy areas in its EU entry talks, thus bringing the number of opened policy areas to eight.

EC: Economic sentiment for Croatia deteriorates in February

The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI), a composite indicator made up of five sectoral confidence indicators, deteriorated for Croatia in February with the subdued confidence of companies from the services and retail sectors having a higher weight than improving consumers' confidence, according to a report released by the European Commission on Monday.

Frankfurt, London exchange operators' stock fall on merger doubts

Shares in the operators of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Deutsche Boerse fell sharply on Monday after the LSE threw fresh doubts on their planned 29-billion-euro (30.1-billion-dollar) merger to forge Europe's biggest exchange.

ICJ asks Bosnia's leadership to state its position on review request

The State Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to make a clear statement as to whether it supports the request for a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) genocide ruling against Serbia, the Croat member of the country's three-member presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Monday.

White Helmets, grateful for Oscar nod, hope for peace in Syria

Members of the Syria Civil Defence group, a neutral team of some 3,000 volunteers providing aid to Syria's rebel-held areas, expressed joy on Monday that a film documenting their work won an Oscar for best short documentary.

Arson attack at French cultural institute in Athens

Unknown assailants have carried out an arson attack on the French cultural institute in Athens, the fire brigade and police reported on Monday.

INA Group posts core business profit of HRK 607 mn

The INA oil and gas group made positive results in 2016, with profit from operations reaching HRK 607 million, compared to a HRK 1.34 billion loss for 2015, the Zagreb-headquartered group stated in a consolidated financial report issued on Monday.

Report: Former Croatian football star Cvetkovic found dead

The former Yugolsavia international and Bundesliga defender Zvezdan Cvetkovic has died, the Croatian state broadcaster HRT reported Monday.

Youth who posted anti-Serb stickers in Vukovar placed in custody

Following a police investigation, a 19-year-old youth from the eastern town of Vukovar, suspected of posting anti-Serb stickers on bus stops along the town's Trpinjska Street, has been placed in custody on the suspicion of inciting violence and hatred, the county police department said on Monday.

US strongly condemns neo-Nazi march in Zagreb

The US Embassy in Zagreb on Monday strongly condemned neo-Nazi and pro-Ustasha views expressed during a demonstration by several dozen people, organised by the non-parliamentary far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) in Zagreb on Sunday.