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PSLV to blast off today with 7 satellites

New Delhi, Feb 25 (): PSLV-C 20, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will blast off from the Sriharikota rocket launch centre on Monday, officials of India’s space agency ISRO said.

The Indo-French satellite, which is called “SARAL”, will carry seven satellites into orbit, including an Indo-French venture for studying the oceans of the world. The countdown started on Saturday and during the 59-hour countdown the rocket’s systems are being checked and fuelled.

The vehicle is scheduled to lift off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 5.56pm on Monday. ISRO officials said that with good weather, the vehicle would lift off from the launch centre on schedule. The mission will put the satellites in an orbit of 781km and will have a life of five years.

President of India, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to witness the event. Mukherjee will be the second President after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to witness a PSLV launch; Dr Kalam witnessed the PSLV launch on May 5, 2005 in Sriharikota.

The 668.5-kg, 44.4-metre rocket will have a lift off mass of 229.7 tonnes.

The ISRO-built Saral is a 410-kg satellite with payloads — Argos and Altika — from French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) for study of ocean parameters. According to ISRO, the SARAL satellite is the first under the Indian mini-satellite bus-series 2 configured for 400 kg satellites.

SARAL will deliver data products to research and operational user communities, in support of sea state forecasting and marine meteorology; operational oceanography; climate monitoring; seasonal forecasting; climate research and earth, ocean system, the officials said.

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 primarily planned to launch SARAL on December 12, 2012, but the launch was postponed to carry out further tests at Sriharikota and in Bangalore.

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