India will launch its first space observatory Astrosat on September 28, becoming only the fourth country to have a lookout in orbit, Isro sources said Sunday.
The 1.5 ton satellite will be zoomed into space by a PSLV C-30 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota at 10am. Six customer satellites, one(micro) each from Canada and Indonesia, and 4 nano satellites from the US will ride along.
"The mission envisages an earth orbiting scientific satellite with payloads capable of simultaneously observing the universe in the visible, ultraviolet and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum," an Isro official said.
The multi-wavelength observatory will study distant stars, white dwarfs and pulsars. In particular, it will train its instruments at the super massive black hole believed to exist at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.
Apart from Isro, four other Indian institutions -- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute -- were involved in the payload development.
Astrosat will be launched into a 650km orbit carrying four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor.Two of the payloads are in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and University of Leicester, UK.
Space agencies of three other countries -- the US, Russia, Japan -- and the European Space Agency have so far launched space observatories.