In an important landmark for the Indian space program, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV will today place the second Indo-French satellite ‘SARAL’ and six other co-passengers or small satellites from Canada, Austria, Denmark and the UK in orbit. The PSLV-C20 is slated for blast-off at 5.56 pm local time from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at India’s space port Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to witness the event. The 44-metre tall rocket, headed towards its 23rd consecutive launch, will sequentially drop off the satellites in space in less than half an hour after the launch. This is the ninth time ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the rocket. 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.
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