India launches rocket with asteroid-spotting satellite

Featured India Science & Technology - February 26th, 2013
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India on Monday launched a rocket carrying seven satellites into orbit that will scan space for asteroids that may come close to Earth.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off from the Sriharikota rocket launch center carrying several payloads including the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat), a Canadian orbiter that will circle the globe every 100 minutes to detect asteroids.

Information from the space telescope could help deflect asteroids that may come close to Earth, which could reduce the impact of hazard from unknown large NEO’s (Near-Earth Objects), according to AFP.

The Canadian satellite will also scan for chunks of asteroids, comets and space debris that could colliside with other satellites. However, it cannot monitor smaller asteroids.

The PSLV, already on its 23rd mission, was also carrying an Indo-French satellite called “SARAL”, or Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA – two climate monitoring tools designed to analyze ocean currents and sea surface heights by French space agency CNES.

The other satellites carried into space included another from Canada, two from Austria and one each for Denmark and the UK.

India has emerged as a significant player in the global commercial satellite-launch market, space experts say, and aims to sends its first manned flight to space in 2016.

Earlier this month, an undetected meteor exploded over Russia, leaving nearly 1,000 people injured, mainly by broken glass after shockwaves reached earth.