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India launches its heaviest rocket payload yet

Opens the way to manned missions, more foreign business

NEW DELHI -- India on Monday launched its heaviest rocket to date with a 3.1 ton communications satellite on board -- taking the country one step closer to manned missions.

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MKIII D1, weighing 640 tons, was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from the Sriharikota space center near the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh state at 5:28 p.m. local time.

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