Countdown for launch of Indian rocket with 20 satellites progressing smoothly

Chennai: The countdown for the launch of Cartosat-2 series and 19 other satellites on Wednesday morning is progressing smoothly, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. The satellites' health is being checked and the preparations for the filling of the fuel for the second rocket's second stage/engine is in progress, the ISRO said on Tuesday.  "The countdown is progressing normally," it said. On Wednesday at 9.26 a.m., Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will lift off from the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with 20 satellites. The rocket's main cargo will be India's 725.5 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation. This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. The other 19 satellites weighing totally about 560 kg are from US, Canada, Germany and Indonesia as well as one satellite each from Sathyabama University-Chennai and College of Engineering-Pune. The rocket will blast off from the second launch pad with a total payload of 1,288 kg. The whole mission will get over in about 26 minutes. The images sent by Cartosat satellite will be useful for cartographic, urban, rural, coastal land use, water distribution and other applications. On the other hand, the 1.5 kg Sathyabamasat from Sathyabama University will collect data on green house gases while the one kg Swayam satellite from College of Engineering-Pune will provide point-to-point messaging services to the ham radio community. Wednesday's mission will be the first time the ISRO will be launching more than 10 satellites with a single rocket. In 2008, the ISRO had launched 10 satellites with the PSLV rocket.