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PSLV scores 13 in a row

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PSLV C-11 on its way to the launch pad a few days before Wednesday's lift off

SRIHARIKOTA (PTI): India's trusted space workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), proved its mettle for the 13th time in a row on Wednesday when it successfully launched India's first unmanned mission to the moon, the Rs 386 crore Chandrayaan-1.

The towering PSLV C-11 breathed fire and left plumes of smoke as it lifted off from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSPC) here, as India set out on a journey to explore the Moon, thus joining a select band of countries.

After an unsuccessful debut (PSLV-D1) in 1993, PSLV has come a long way, and there has been no looking back with the 13 various improvised versions of the launch vehicles reaping the fruits of Indian scientists' hard toil.

In a textbook launch, PSLV C-11 took off in a perfect liftoff and separation of each stage went off as planned without any hitch.

A beaming ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair summed it up saying, “It's a remarkable performance by the launch vehicle.” Scientists cheered as the most used launch vehicle, weighing 316 tonnes at lift-off, soared majestically into the partially cloudy sky at 6.22 am from the space port.

This is the 14th flight of the PSLV, which had launched 29 satellites into a variety of orbits since 1993. This launch vehicle uses larger strap-on motors to achieve higher payload capability.

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