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India launches first astronomical observatory

NEW DELHI, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- India Monday launched its first astronomical observatory Astrosat from the spaceport of Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

"The home-made observatory was launched into space on board the indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that also carried six satellites, including four U.S. satellites," an official of the state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The telescope, which is made by ISRO and intended to study distant celestial objects, including black holes, stars and galaxies, will be placed almost 650 kms above the surface of the Earth and is expected to have a mission life of five years.

If the launch turns out to be successful, then India will be the fourth in the world after the U.S., the European Union and Japan to have a astronomical telescope into space.

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