India launches rocket carrying dozens of satellites

NEW DELHI — India launched a rocket carrying dozens of satellites from India and six other countries Friday from its island space center.

A. S. Kiran Kumar, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said the satellites successfully reached orbit after the polar satellite launch vehicle took off from Sriharikota, an island off Andhra Pradesh state in the country's southeast..

Apart from two Indian weather satellites, the rocket carried 28 micro and nano-satellites from Canada, Finland, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The lift-off was postponed by a minute because of fear of collision with space debris, the New Delhi Television news channel said. The last launch of India's first privately built satellite failed in August because of a heat shield problem.

Friday's launch is the latest in a string of successes for the Indian space agency. Last June, India launched its heaviest-ever rocket it hopes will eventually be able to carry astronauts into space, a feat only Russia, the United States and China have achieved.

In 2013, India launched a space probe that has been orbiting Mars since September 2014.

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