NEW DELHI • India successfully put into orbit five British satellites late on Friday, officials said, the heaviest commercial payload to date using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's XL variant rocket.
The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) rocket blasted off at 9.58pm local time.
The satellites reached their intended orbit in just over 19 minutes, said ISRO officials at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, about 80km from Chennai.
The five satellites, weighing a total of 1,440kg, were built by Britain's Surrey Satellite Technology. They include three imaging probes to be used to study Earth, including its resources and environment, and to support disaster monitoring and relief. The other two are designed to test technologies that could be used on future spacecraft.
The three imaging satellites are leased to a company from China - 21st Century Aerospace Technology - to help it survey the fast-growing Asian nation, the BBC reported.