Space scientists are preparing for what many see as a pathbreaking event — the January 10 launch by India of four satellites, including a recoverable spacecraft — on a home-grown rocket.
Officials of the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are talking of a 9.30 am blast-off on that day from the spaceport at Sriharikota.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C7) will carry into space India's Cartosat-2, a 680-kg mapping satellite, and the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE, 550 kg), Indonesia's Lapan-Tubsat satellite (56 kg) and Pehuensat of Argentina (six kg).
This is the first time that India will launch four satellites together, including the recoverable SRE that is intended to demonstrate the capability to recover an orbiting space capsule and associated technologies.
ISRO said a floatation system will keep the SRE afloat and enable its recovery. Cartosat-2, an advanced remote sensing satellite, will carry a single panchromatic camera capable of providing scene-specific spot imagery for cartographic applications.
ISRO officials said the camera will be capable of spotting objects on the ground that measure about one metre.