There will be a three-minute delay in the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) from Sriharikota on June 30 because of the probability of space debris getting in the way of the launch vehicle.
Isro chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan told HT: “The mission readiness review committee met on Friday and looked into the possibility of space debris coming in the way of the rocket. The committee therefore decided to delay the launch by three minutes from 9.49am to 9.52am.”
Monday’s launch will bolster India’s position in the global space market in terms of a commercial launch pad for foreign satellites. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the launch, the first by Isro after the formation of new government at the Centre.
Space debris is the collection of defunct objects in orbit around Earth, including everything from spent rocket stages, old satellites, fragments from disintegration, erosion and collisions.
The launch is significant since the rocket carries five foreign satellites, Radhakrishnan said, adding: “This would be the first fully commercial launch of foreign satellites after September 2012. The launch of the foreign satellites is a reflection on Isro’s strides in the space programme,”
The indigenous PSLV-C23 rocket will carry a 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7 as the main payload. The 14 kg AISAT of Germany, NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg, and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore are being carried as co-passengers
The 49-hour countdown for the launch will commence at 8:52 hrs on June 28.