Chennai, Feb 24: President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to witness the launching of the Indo-French satellite ‘SARAL’, aimed at oceanographic studies, and six other foreign mini and micro satellites from ISRO’s workhorse rocket PSLV from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) is slated for blast-off at 5.56 p.m. from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, 110 kms from here.
The countdown for the launch began at 6.56 a.m. yesterday, was progressing normally, Indian Space Research Organisation sources said.
This is the 23rd mission of PSLV. It has an impeccable record of 21 consecutive successful flights. This is the ninth time ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the rocket.
The 668.5 kgs and 44.4 metres tall rocket will have a lift off mass of 229.7 tonnes. Besides SARAL, it would put into orbit two micro-satellites UniBRITE and BRITE from Austria and AAUSAT3 from Denmark and STRAND from United Kingdom as also one micro-satellite (NEOSSat) and one mini-satellite (SAPPHIRE) from Canada.
ISRO had initially planned to launch SARAL on December 12 last year, but postponed it to carry out additional tests to “address technical issues to ensure reliability”.
The ISRO-built SARAL is a 410-kg satellite with payloads-Argos and Altika-from French space agency CNES for study of ocean parameters towards enhancing the understanding of the ocean state conditions which are otherwise not covered by the in-situ measurements.
In view of the expected presence of the President, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre has been put under a thick net of security, officials said. (ANI)