Countdown for ISRO rocket launch to begin on Saturday

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The 50-hour countdown for the launch of an Indian rocket carrying seven satellites including India’s ASTROSAT on 28 September would start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, said a senior space agency official.

The Indian Space Research Organisation official, who does not want to be named said that the Mission Readiness Review committee and Launch Authorisation Board cleared the 50-hour countdown late on Thursday.

The launch countdown would begin on 26 September at 8 a.m during which time various system checks and fuelling of the different rocket engines would be done.

The rocket polar satellite launch vehicle will launch the country’s own ASTROSAT weighing 1,513 kg, apart from four from the US and one each from Indonesia and Canada on Monday.

The PSLV will carry a total payload of 1,631 kg during this mission.

The ISRO said standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing 320.2 tonnes, the PSLV rocket will blast off from the first launch pad with seven satellites.

Just over 22 minutes into the flight, the rocket will eject ASTROSAT at an altitude of around 650 km above the earth.

Soon after, six other satellites will be put into orbit and the whole mission will come to an end in just over 25 minutes.

ASTROSAT, with a lifespan of five years, is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory that will help in understanding the universe.

The space agency said ASTROSAT will observe the universe through optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing through a narrow wavelength band.

The Indonesian 76 kg LAPAN-A2 is a micro-satellite from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, meant for providing maritime surveillance using automatic identification system (AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out earth surveillance using video and digital camera.

The 14-kg NLS-14 (Ev9) of Space Flight Laboratory, the University of Toronto Institute for Advanced Studies, is also a maritime monitoring Canadian nano satellite using the next generation AIS.

The remaining four LEMUR nano satellites from Spire Global Inc., San Francisco, US, are non-visual remote sensing satellites, focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking via AIS and high fidelity weather forecasting using GPS radio occultation technology, the ISRO said.

Till date, India has launched 45 foreign satellites for a fee.

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