Countdown begins for PSLV-C23 take off

Countdown begins for PSLV-C23 take off

After a three-minute delay, the 49-hour countdown to the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) PSLV-C23 mission began early on Saturday at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.

“The countdown of PSLV-C23 mission started at 8:52 am at SDSC in Sriharikota and is progressing smoothly. All parameters are being checked and the propellant-filling operations of the fourth stage (PS4) of the satellite had commenced at 11:15 am,” a senior Isro official from the SDSC told Deccan Herald.

The official explained that the launch was delayed by three minutes to avoid the possibility of the satellites encountering space debris. The PSLV will now lift off from the Sriharikota launch pad, about 100 km from here, at 9:52 am on Monday as opposed to the earlier scheduled 9:49 am.

In its 27th flight, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is set to launch five foreign satellites in a purely commercial mission for Isro.

The mission was set in motion after the clearance of a group of scientists from the Readiness Review Committee and Launch Authorisation Board of the PSLV-C23. It cleared the launch of French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7 and four co-passenger satellites from Canada, Germany and Singapore.

The PSLV-C23’s main payload is the 714-kg SPOT-7, which is to be launched into a 655-km Sun Synchronous Orbit. The Indian satellite workhorse will also carry Germany’s 14-kg AISAT, Canada’s NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5), both weighing 15 kg, and Singapore’s seven-kg VELOX-1 as co-passengers. 

This would be Isro’s maiden launch after the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance took power at the Centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive at the launch pad at Sriharikota early on Monday to witness the PSLV-C23 take off and will also look at the various facilities at the space port.

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