"Today I ask you, the space community, to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India," he said in his address.

He asked the scientists to work on a satellite that would provide full range of applications and services to all of India's neighbours.

"Such a satellite will be helpful in SAARC nations' fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of SAARC countries," he said from ISRO's Mission Control Room.

The 'dream' for such a satellite will be useful for the development of all SAARC nations with India playing a key role in that, Modi reasoned in a speech laced with anecdotes and delivered in a mix of English and Hindi.

Modi said the need for such a satellite arose because of India's age-old ethos of 'vasudhaiva kutumbakam' (the world is a family) even as "India's space programme is driven by service and not by desire of power".

"For us, it (space programme) is an important instrument of human progress. We must, therefore, share the fruits of technological advancement with those who do not enjoy it. We already share disaster management data with over 30 countries.
    
"We provide benefits of telemedicine to Afghanistan and African countries. But we must do more. 'Yeh dil maange more' (the heart desires for more)," Modi said repeating a famous tagline.
    

He also exhorted the scientific community to enlarge India's footprints of satellite navigation system to cover all of South Asia.
    
Space programme was one area where India had "pushed beyond mediocrity" to achieve excellence despite "international hurdles" even as the country had come a long way from its humble beginnings of its first satellite Aryabhatta to engaging in commercial launches of satellites of even developed countries, he said.
    
Crediting former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee's vision for India's lunar mission Chandrayaan, Modi also referred to the Mars mission, adding, he followed the space-related developments closely.

He expressed joy that the country had an indigenous space programme despite "resource constrains and hurdles".
    
Modi said that space technology was not confined to the elite and described this as 'wrong perception' even as he outlined the government's commitment to change it.
    
He said that the laboratory achievements of the scientists will be implemented for public good and noted that GIS-enabled watershed programmes, besides others, had borne fruits for the common man.
    
The Prime Minister asked the space scientists to work towards replicating such models in the area of land records and related issues, besides governance, and said if implemented, it could help the public at large.

Modi lauded the space community, saluting among others its founding fathers Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan, besides ISRO for the 'perfect' placement of the five foreign satellites in intended orbit today.
    
He said India's advanced space programme "puts her in an elite global group of 5-6 countries" and exhorted ISRO to go in for heavier satellites.
    
"Our space scientists have made us global leaders in one of the most complex areas on modern technology. This shows that we can be the best and we must feel proud of it. If we apply ourselves, we can meet the aspirations of our people," the Prime Minister said.
    
Modi, who stayed overnight at ISRO, said he was happy to come across four generations of scientists, including those from the days of Aryabhatta satellite and said it gave a 'family-like' environment at the spaceport.
    
India's scientific tradition was deep-rooted as the country had provided 'shunya (zero)' without which there could be no scientific progress, he added.
    
After a perfect lift off from the First Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 9.52 am, Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse PSLV-C23 placed all five satellites into their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes after liftoff, in textbook precision.

Besides its primary payload of 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, PSLV C23 carried and placed in orbit 14 kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.

The five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX (ISRO's commercial arm) entered into with the respective foreign agencies.
    
Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh, Secretary Space Dr Radhakrishnan, and eminent scientists Prof UR Rao, Dr Kasturirangan were present on the occasion.

ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries around the globe - Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and United Kingdom, bringing a huge sum to the country as foreign exchange.

Our Mars mission cost less than movie 'Gravity': Modi

The Indian space programmes are most cost effective and the cost incurred for the Mars mission was less than the money invested to make the Hollywood movie ‘Gravity’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"Even today, our programme stands out as the most cost effective in the world," said Modi on Monday after the successful launch of a rocket that carried five foreign satellites to space.

"The story of our Mars mission costing less than the Hollywood movie 'Gravity' had gone viral on social media recently. Our scientists have shown the world, a new paradigm of frugal engineering and the power of imagination," he said.

"Gravity" is a 2013 British-American 3D epic science fiction thriller film. It was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts involved in the mid-orbit destruction of a space shuttle and their attempt to return to the Earth.

The budget of the movie was USD 100 million.

Rosaiah congratulates ISRO scientists

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governor K Rosaiah on Monday congratulated scientists of ISRO on the successful launch of PSLV C23 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

"It is a matter of great pride and a historic moment in the annals of ISRO. We have again proved that we are second to none in space science and technology. The day of India emerging as a super power is not far off,” Rosaiah said in a release.
    
"I extend my best wishes to Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, all the scientists and to the entire team of ISRO. I wish ISRO all success in its endeavours,” he added.

Kerala Assembly congratulates ISRO scientists

The Kerala Assembly on Monday congratulated ISRO scientists for the successful launch of PSLV C23 carrying five satellites from Sriharikota. A resolution moved by Speaker G Karthikeyan said it was a proud moment for the country.
    
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said it was a proud moment for the country "especially for Kerala" and congratulated ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan and his scientists colleagues for the launch.
    
CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said it was a great occasion for the country.

Telangana CM, YSRC president hail PSLV C-23 launch


Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and other leaders congratulated ISRO scientists on the successful launch of the PSLV C-23 rocket carrying five satellites.
    
Noting that the successful launch has made the country proud, they wished success for ISRO in its future endeavours.     

ISRO has enhanced India’s glory: Andhra CM

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Governor E S L Narasimhan also witnessed the launch from the Sriharikota spaceport in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
    
"It is a very happy occasion. I congratulate every ISRO scientist who contributed to this success and enhanced India's glory," Chandrababu said in a statement here.
    
The Chief Minister, who witnessed the launch along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, remarked that the intellect and efforts of scientists were placing India on a high pedestal in the world in the fields of science and technology.

He wished the ISRO would achieve more such laurels in future under the leadership of its chairman K Radhakrishnan.
    
He thanked the Prime Minister for his presence and encouraging words at the launch of PSLV-C23 that placed five satellites of France, Germany, Canada and Singapore in space.

(JPN/Agencies)        

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