India's PSLV-C20 satellite launch vehicle, carrying the SARAL Indo-French satellite as one of its payloads, lifts off from the launchpad at Sriharikora on February 25, 2013, in a photo released by the Indian presidential palace. India launched a rocket Monday carrying seven satellites into orbit, including a Canadian orbiter that will scan for asteroids that could be hurtling toward Earth.

India launched a rocket Monday carrying seven satellites into orbit, including a Canadian orbiter that will scan for asteroids that could be hurtling toward Earth.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off from the Sriharikota rocket launch centre located on an island off the coast of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The launch, witnessed by Indian President President Pranab Mukherjee at the space mission control centre, "was perfect", Devi Prasad Karnik, an official of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation, told AFP.

The suitcase-sized Canadian satellite, which the Canadian Space Agency calls a "sentinel in the sky", will circle the globe every 100 minutes, scanning space to pinpoint asteroids that may come close to Earth.

Information from the satellite could help deflect asteroids whose trajectory might threaten Earth, Canadian space officials say

Earlier this month, an asteroid whizzed safely past Earth the same day a much smaller, previously undetected meteor hit Russia, injuring nearly 1,000 people.

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