Chennai: ISRO launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-16 at Sriharikota on Wednesday. The rocket will ferry three satellites, including the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Resourcesat-2.

The 54.5-hour countdown that began early Monday is proceeding smoothly, according to S Satish, director for ISRO's publications and public relations.

The Rs 90 crore PSLV, standing 44 metres tall and weighing 295 tonnes, is a four-stage (engine) rocket powered by solid and liquid propellants alternatively.

The first and third stages are fired by solid propellant while the second and fourth stages need liquid propellant.
The rocket will carry a total payload of 1,404 kg.

This comprises three satellites - the 1,206 kg Resourcesat-2, the 92 kg joint Indo-Russian mini satellite Youthsat for stellar and atmospheric studies, and a 106 kg mini satellite X-sat for imaging applications, which is built by the Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University.

The Rs 140 crore Resourcesat-2 was originally scheduled for launch in January this year but it got postponed to February and later to April.

Apart from carrying three sophisticated cameras, the remote sensing Resourcesat-2 satellite will carry an Automatic Information System (AIS) from COMDEV in Canada for ship surveillance in VHF band to derive position, speed and other information of ships.

“With the launch of Resourcesat-2, the ISRO will have 10 remote sensing satellites in orbit - Resourcesat 1, TES, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS-1, RISAT-2, Oceansat-2,” Satish said.

Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of spatial resolutions, from better than a metre ranging up to 500 metres, and is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

The data is used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, drought and flood forecasting, ocean resources and disaster management.

According to ISRO officials the other remote sensing satellites scheduled for launch this year are Megha-Tropiques, Radar Imaging Satellite-1 (RISAT-1) and Saral.

(Agencies)