SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
India's first satellite. Scientists performing remote tests of the systems of Aryabhata, India's first satellite, before launch. Aryabhata was a 1.4 metre diameter satellite, featuring a polyhedral design with 26 sides covered with solar cells. It was launched on 19 April 1975 from the Kapustin Yar site in Russia on a Cosmos-3M rocket into a 563 x 618km orbit with an inclination of 50.8 degrees and an orbital period of 96.3 minutes. It returned data on X-ray astronomy and solar physics for four days, all contact being lost on the fifth day. The satellite re-entered the atmosphere on 11 February 1982.
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