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India approves 1.5 bln USD for space program

June 6

 The Indian government approved 1.5 billion U.S. dollars for the country's space program on Wednesday, in what is seen as a major step to reduce its dependence on foreign spaceports to launch heavier satellites.

The approval was given by the Indian Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official release said Wednesday.

"With the Cabinet approval for 10 launches of 10 GSLV Mk III in the next four years, we will be able to launch heavier satellites weighing around 4 tonnes," junior Minister in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh told the media.

"This will be a big leap forward as we don't have to depend on foreign spaceports for launching heavier satellites," he added.

According to the minister, the GSLV Mk III programme is an indigenous programme that will enable India's state-owned space agency to launch foreign satellites of over 4 tonnes of weight.

Indian Space Research Organization's chief K. Sivan has termed the development as "the happiest moment for all of us" in the space agency.

In February this year, India launched 31 satellites in a single mission from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota. A year earlier, it launched 104 satellites in a single mission.

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