India successfully launched its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine customer satellites onboard its Polar rocket from the spaceport here on Saturday.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) lifted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here at 3.12 PM at the end of a 26-hour countdown and injected the satellites into orbit one after another 20 minutes later.

The lift-off was originally scheduled for 3.02 pm, but was delayed by 10 minutes due to debris on the path of the vehicle, ISRO said. This is the first mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation this year.

EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry, and disaster management support, the space agency said.

The customer satellites are from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4), and the USA (4).

Mean-while, The coronavirus caseload in India zoomed past 8.5 million after 45,674 cases were reported in a single day. While the overall tally stood at 8,507,754, the number of fatalities also increased to 1,26,121. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease also surged to 78,68,968, pushing the national recovery rate to 92.49 percent.

Amid growing backlash from the opposition BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that his government will soon reopen places of worship across the state after Diwali and is ready to face any criticism for the welfare of his state till then. The chief minister also urged citizens to avoid burning firecrackers and continue wearing masks during the festive period. In a public address via video-conferencing, Thackeray said: “We will open the temples and places of worship soon. Let Diwali be over. But even when we open the temples, you can leave your chappals [slippers] outside but not your mask.”

Meanwhile, the twin factors of rising air pollution and a surge in Covid cases have increased the burden on Delhi’s hospitals with the number of vacant beds shrinking fast and outpatient departments (OPDs) witnessing a spike in footfall, doctors told news agency PTI on Saturday.