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India successfully launched its first space telescope

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday launched its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States.

The observatory, named Astrosat, was launched from Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, Astrosat will attempt a deeper study of the universe, especially star systems. It will carry four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor, making it a unique multifunctional space observation satellite.

Though ASTROSAT may be similar to the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the former is about 10 times smaller and cannot be compared to the Hubble, which is versatile.

ISRO said the scientific objectives of Astrosat mission are to understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars and to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy.

The satellite is going to be operated for five years, with its control center located in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Astrosat will be delivered to its orbit with a polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV), which will carry six more satellites: a 76-kilogram Indonesian maritime surveillance satellite, a 14- kilogram Canadian observing satellite and four US remote sensing nano-satellites. It’s the first time India will launch American satellites.

India is a rapidly developing space power. Last year the country launched the Mars Orbiter Mission, which was a breakthrough for Indian astronomy as before it the similar missions were conducted only by Russia, the US and the EU.