A scientist watches a rocket carrying CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT on a screen just before the take-off at Sriharokota, India
India has launched a rocket carrying two satellites, as part of the country's ambitious space program that aims to send a probe to the moon.

The indigenous high-tech rocket, called the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLAV blasted off from India's spaceport of Sriharokota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal Thursday.

Among the two satellites, the heavier CARTOSAT-1 is designed to supply high-resolution pictures for more precise maps for a wide range of uses, including water resources management, town planning and environmental assessment.

The smaller HAMSAT communication satellite will provide high radio frequencies.

Indian space scientists say they plan to use a version of the PSLAV rocket for their moon mission which they hope to complete by 2008.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.