NEW DELHI, June 5 (Xinhua) -- India Monday launched its heaviest rocket, along with a satellite, that is believed to be able to send humans into space in the future.
The home-made rocket, named Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or (GSLV) Mark III, lifted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh state at 5:28 p.m. local time.
The communication satellite, called GSAT 19, which the rocket carried into space, weighs more than three tonnes, and it has been the heaviest satellite to be lifted by an Indian rocket so far.
"Today is a historic day. The rocket has successfully put the satellite into orbit," said Chairman of the state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) A.S. Kiran Kumar.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the space scientists. "Congratulations to the dedicated scientists of ISRO for the successful launch of GSLV-MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission," he tweeted.
Modi added: "The GSLV-MKIII D1/GSAT-19 mission takes India closer to the next generation launch vehicle and satellite capability. The nation is proud!"
The countdown for the launch of the 640-tonne rocket began Sunday.