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India launches rocket with 104 satellites

dpa logodpa 15/02/2017

A rocket carrying 104 satellites has blasted off near Chennai on India's south-eastern coast.

An Indian rocket carrying 104 satellites has blasted off on a mission that could set a world record once its payload is successfully placed in orbit.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) took off on Wednesday from the Sriharikota spaceport near Chennai on India's south-eastern coast.

The lift-off was "normal as expected", the ISRO wrote on Twitter.

The rocket is carrying three satellites from India and 101 smaller nano-satellites including 96 from the United States and one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Indian space agency's mission deployed the most satellites by any country in a single launch, beating the previous record of 37 satellites launched by Russia in 2014.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists on what he called an "exceptional achievement."

"This remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation. India salutes our scientists," Modi said.

Before Wednesday, ISRO had launched 122 satellites into orbit, including 43 from India and 79 from foreign nations, using its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket since 1999.

Scientists say Wednesday's launch underscores the increasing space capabilities and ambitious goals of India, which has sent probes to the Moon and Mars in recent years.

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