16-hour countdown for PSLV-C44 mission begins


The 16-hour countdown for the 46th flight of ISRO’s Kalamsat, a student payload, and imaging satellite Microsat-R, on board India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV C-44 began at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 1937 hrs on wednesday.

“The countdown for the launch of PSLV-C44 mission started today at 19:37 hrs (IST) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The launch is scheduled at 23:37 Hrs IST on 24th January 2019,” a mission update by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 46th flight, would lift off from the first launch pad at the SDSC in Sriharikota, over 100 km from here. PSLV-C44 is the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of the 44.4 metre tall rocket equipped with two strap-on configuration, ISRO said.

“In this mission, the fourth stage (PS4) of PSLV-C44 will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments,” the ISRO said. According to the mission launch brochure, Kalamsat, the first to use PS4 as orbital platform, is a payload contributed by students and Microsat-R is an imaging satellite. It did not give any other detail about the payloads.

The four stage launch vehicle will feature alternating solid and liquid stages. After placing the the imaging satellite MIcrosat-R  in the stipulated orbit, the launch vehicle will move to a higher circular orbit in the fourth stage to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments. The student payload, Kalamsat will use the fourth stage as the orbital platform.

The launch tomorrow night marks the first mission for the  ISRO this year. The space agency has  so far launched 53 satellites for India, besides 269 satellites for 32 other countries.

In its last mission, on November 29 last year, the ISRO successfully injected India’s earth observation satellite HysIS onboard PSLV C43 into its designated orbit.