The countdown for the April 20 launch of the PSLV-C16 mission, that will put the country's latest remote sensing spacecraft Resourcesat-2 and two small satellites 822 km above Earth, began in the early hours today at the spaceport of Sriharikota near here.
Indian Space Research Organisation's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will carry three payloads weighing 1,404 kg in total and put them in Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit, 822 km above Earth on its 18th mission.
"The 54-and-a-half-hour-long countdown started on schedule this morning at 3.42 am. All the proceedings are smooth," ISRO spokesman S Sathish told PTI, adding the weather was normal for the launch.
The 1206 kg Resoursesat-2 with three high resolution cameras will replace Resourcesat-1 launched in 2003 and provide data with enhanced multispectral and spatial coverage on natural resources.
With a five-year space life, Resourcesat-2 will also carry an additional payload from COMDEV, Canada that intends to provide information on ship surveillance by making 14 orbits per day, ISRO said.
Youthsat, a 92-kg joint Indo-Russian satellite for stellar and atmospheric studies intends to study the relationship between solar variability and thermosphere-lonosphere changes. The satellite with a two-year life will carry two Indian and one Russian payload.
PSLV will also launch Singapore's X-SAT, a mini satellite of 106 kg that intends to demonstrate technologies related to satellite-based remote sensing and onboard image processing.
PSLV has an impressive track record of 16 successful missions out of 17 attempts and has launched 44 satellites, including 25 payloads from abroad, since 1994.
The latest mission received clearance from the Launch Authorisation Board on Saturday.
During the countdown, propellant-filling operations of liquid propellant second stage (PS2) and fourth stage (PS4) of the launch vehicle is carried out.
Mandatory checks on the launch vehicle and spacecraft and readiness of launch infrastructure and communication networks are also done.