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In addition to two foreign satellites – SPOT 6, a French observation satellite weighing 712 kg and Proiteres, a 15 kg Japanese microsatellite – the indigenously developed PSLV-C21 rocket also hurtled an additional payload into outer space in the form of the 65 kg heavy Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh himself.
Shedding further light on the unforeseen development, ISRO chairman Dr. K Radhakrishnan said, “Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was at hand to witness the premier space agency’s historic 100th mission from Sriharikota, was taking a keen interest in proceedings and casually enquired as to how it’s like out there.
When I replied that it’s just dark empty space permeated by unearthly silence, the PM abruptly excused himself, ostensibly to attend to a call of nature.”
With the PM missing from the control room even two minutes prior to take-off, his aides knocked on the bath-room door which was locked from the inside. When there was no response, they assumed everything was fine and went back to witness the exciting take-off, revealed sources.
“And then 10 minutes after take-off, as the rocket was about to attain escape velocity, Dr. Singh suddenly peeped out of one of the rocket’s windows to wave back at us. He evidently seemed to be in high spirits, looking forward to his journey,” revealed ISRO authorities.
PMO said the trip was planned in advance but the PM did not want to keep the ISRO in the loop. “These days Dr. Singh likes to jet off to foreign capitals when the going gets tough in New Delhi. So when the coal block allocation scandal broke out, the trip to Tehran couldn’t have come at a better time. He came back all recharged but to his dismay, the scandal had not died down and there were no foreign trips planned either for this month. So he opted to fly into outer space instead,” explained a PMO official.
The official allayed fears of the PM’s absence from earth leading to policy paralysis. “Dude, we officially don’t have any policy to begin with. So there is no question of paralysis,” he barked.
Later, Dr. Singh radioed the following message to the control room in Satish Dhawan Space Center: “For once, I well and truly seem to be on top of things. Feel so light in both body and mind. I’ll be back if and when Parliament reconvenes but if it yet again gets adjourned, I’ll stay here and continue to go around in circles.”
However, it has come to light that Dr. Singh is not the sole human on the rocket. Madhura Honey had also sneaked in without anyone noticing, making Dr. Singh nearly jump out of his skin when she gingerly tapped his shoulder after the rocket entered into orbit.