On its 42nd mission, the ISRO's new and refurbished PSLV - C40 will lift off with 31 passengers of which the earth observation 'Cartosat 2 Series' satellite is the heaviest, weighing 710 kg. The co-passenger satellites comprise one micro and nano satellite each from India as well as three micro and 25 nanosatellites from six countries -- Canada, Finland, France, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The workhorse rocket of ISRO weighs nearly 320 tonnes and stands as tall as a fifteen storey building.
The forty second launch of the PSLV has many novelties, including a unique start stop operation for the fourth stage of the rocket as it attempts to put satellites in two different orbits. The total flight duration will be two hours and 21 minutes, one of the longest so far.
The 'Cartosat-2 Series' satellite launch is a follow-on mission with the primary objective of providing high resolution scene specific spot imageries, the ISRO said.
The first launch of 2018 comes nearly four months after the unsuccessful launch of India's first private-sector manufactured satellite, the IRNSS-1H, on August 31 last year. The satellite was expected to replace one of the seven orbiting satellite of NAViC, which is malfunctioning. NAViC, which is a system of seven satellites, powers India's homegrown Global Positioning System.
"We have been able to identify what went wrong," Dr AS Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO told NDTV. "We have made the system more robust by giving much more leeway, now we have understood the problem and incorporated and tested on ground the new mechanisms and changes that have been incorporated," he added.