Indian Rocket Launches Asteroid-Hunting Satellite, Tiny Space Telescopes | Space.com A rocket carrying seven new satellites, including the first spacecraft designed to hunt huge asteroids and two of the world's smallest space telescopes, launched into space Monday (Feb. 25) from an Indian spaceport. The Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off at 7:31 a.m. EST (1231 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on a mission to deliver its muti-national payloads into Earth orbit. Several other payloads rode piggyback on the PSLV rocket, including the $25 million Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat), a small spacecraft designed to seek out large asteroids in orbits that may stray near the Earth. The suitcase-size satellite cannot track small space rocks like asteroid 2012 DA14, the 130-foot (40 meters) object that buzzed the Earth on Feb. 15, but scientists working with NEOSSat will use it to search for a specific types of asteroids that are at least 31 million miles (50 million kilometers) from Earth, mission scientist said. [See how NEOSSat tracks asteroids (Video)] "NEOSSat will probably reduce the impact hazard from unknown large NEOâ€™s [near-Earth objects] by a few percent over its lifetime, but is not designed to discover small asteroids near the Earth that may be on collision courses," NEOSSat co-principal investigator Alan Hildebrand of the University of Calgary wrote in a statement.