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India launches satellite for ocean study

  • Story Highlights
  • The satellite carried six nanosatellites from European universities, ISRO says
  • Oceansat-2 has two solar panels for generating power and charging batteries
  • Previous mission -- Chandrayaan-1 -- had to be abandoned after losing contact
  • Indian government raised federal budget for space research to $1 billion this year
By Harmeet Shah Singh
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India on Wednesday launched a second satellite to study oceans.

The cube-shaped Oceansat-2 will monitor the interaction between oceans and the atmosphere, as part of climate studies, according to the country's main space agency.

The satellite, launched from India's southeast coast, carried six nanosatellites from European universities as auxiliary payloads, said the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It also is equipped with two solar panels projecting from its sides, for generating power and charging batteries.

India says it has the world's largest constellation of remote-sensing satellites -- 16, including Oceansat-2. They produce images for uses such as agriculture, rural development, water resources, forestry and disaster management.

Wednesday's launch came less than a month after India terminated its unmanned moon mission about 14 months ahead of its programmed life of two years.

The mission -- Chandrayaan-1, which means mooncraft in Sanskrit -- had to be abandoned after it lost contact with the ground.

In 312 days, it completed more than 3,400 orbits around the moon before vanishing from radar, according to the space agency.

Chandrayaan-1 aimed to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the lunar surface, especially the permanently shadowed polar regions.

The craft carried payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria.

Earlier this year, the Indian government increased the federal budget for space research to about $1 billion from $700 million.

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