Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Feb 25: The Indian space agency Monday delayed by five minutes – till 6.01 p.m. – the launch of a rocket carrying seven satellites to avoid a collision with resident space objects like debris and other such objects in space, an official said.
“As per our data, there may be some space objects that might come floating near our satellites. As a matter of caution, we have decided to delay the launch by five minutes, so as to avoid any collision or close shave,” an official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS, not wishing to be identified.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C20 (PSLV-C20) carrying seven satellites was slated for blast off at 5.56 p.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, around 80 km from Chennai.
Another ISRO official said the revised launch time for the rocket is 6.01 p.m.
President Pranab Mukherjee is slated to witness the launch of the first of the 10 space missions planned by ISRO in 2013.
The 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C20 (PSLV-C20) rocket, with a lift-off weight of 229.7 tonnes, will sling into orbit seven satellites – one Indo-French and six foreign satellites.
The seven satellites together weigh 668.5 kg. The entire flight sequence – lift-off to the ejection of the seventh satellite at an altitude of 794 km above the earth – will take around 22 minutes.
The successful launch of the satellites will take ISRO’s tally of launching foreign satellites to 35. ISRO started putting into space third-party satellites for a fee in 1999 on its PSLV-C2 rocket.
Since then India has been successful in launching medium-weight satellites for overseas agencies. Initially ISRO started carrying third-party satellite atop PSLC rockets as co-passengers of its own remote sensing/earth observation satellites.
In 2007, ISRO launched an Italian satellite – Agile – as a standalone for a fee.
India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket and till date, it has completed 100 missions.