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The competition heats up: India today successfully launched Astrosat, its first space telescope.
ASTROSAT, with a mission life of five years, is armed with telescopes that will simultaneously study the space in visible light, ultraviolet (UV) rays and low- and high-energy X-rays, plus an X-ray scanning sky monitor to detect transient X-ray emissions and γ-ray bursts. The observatory aims to study star-birth regions and high-energy processes, including binary star systems of neutron stars and black holes.
This space observatory fills several gaps that have existed in astronomical research since the shut down of NASA’s Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer in 2012 as well as the International Ultraviolet Explorer in 1996.
The launch also put six other small satellites into orbit, demonstrating once again the reliability of India’s smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).