Countdown for PSLV rocket's longest mission begins

Chennai, Sep 24: The countdown for the launch of an Indian rocket with a weather and seven other satellites began on Saturday at rocket port Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the Indian space agency said.

According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the countdown for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) began at 8.42 a.m.

This will be ISRO's longest PSLV satellite launch mission spread over two hours and fifteen minutes.

The 320 tonne PSLV rocket carrying eight satellites - three Indian and five foreign - will blast off from the first launch pad at Sriharikota on September 26 at 9.12 a.m.

The rocket's main cargo will be the 371 kg SCATSAT-1 for ocean and weather related studies which will be placed into a 730 km polar sun synchronous orbit around 17 minutes into the flight.

According to ISRO, SCATSAT-1 is a continuity mission for Oceansat-2 scatterometer to provide wind vector data products for weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking services to the users.

The satellite carries Ku-band scatterometer similar to the one flown onboard Oceansat-2.

The mission life of the satellite is five years.

The five foreign satellites are: three from Algeria (Alsat-1B 103kg, Alsat-2B 117kg, Alsat-1N 7kg); and one each from Canada (NLS-19, 8kg) and the US (Pathfinder-44kg).

The two other Indian satellites are: Pratham (10kg) built by Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay and Pisat (5.25 kg) from PES University, Bengaluru and its consortium.

The seven satellites will be placed in a 689 km polar orbit.