Just days after India conducted an anti-missile test, its space agency has now launched 29 satellites on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the satellites, including primary payload Electro-Magnetic Intelligence Satellite (EMISAT), on Monday morning Australian time.
The other 28 satellites were from international customers.
EMISAT is a military satellite that is used to detect signals from enemy radars, and has been in development for close to five years.
"What this allows us to do now is essentially know what kind of radar is at work on the other side, based on the spectrum, and we will be able to read the distance between the radar and our asset, too," a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist told The Times of India.
Last week, India announced it had successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon, placing the country in an elite group of global powers with such capabilities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi defiantly announced via Twitter "India stands tall as a space power!" following the successful test, which has sparked concerns among space and strategic analysts that the test was done to serve as a warning to Asia's other rising space power, China, which successfully launched an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) to destroy the Chinese Fengyun-1C weather satellite in 2007.
India has a long history in space, having undertaken 102 spacecraft missions consisting of communication satellites, Earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellites, apart from satellites meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
The Ministry for External Affairs has said, "India’s space program is a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure."
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