Indian rocket set for launch

An Indian rocket carrying the Indo-French tropical weather satellite Megha-Tropiques and three other smaller satellites is all set for launch on Wednesday. It is expected to launch its 50th satellite since 1993.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - C18 (PSLV-C18) -- will blast off from Sriharikota spaceport, around 80 km from Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai, at 11 a.m. Till date, 48 of PSLV's 49 satellites launched have been successful.

"Everything is ready for the launch of PSLV-C18 today (Wednesday). The countdown is progressing smoothly and the rocket is set for launch at 11.a m.," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said.

"All the stages/engines are fully fuelled and the rocket is ready for the launch," the official added.

It will be lugging a 1,000-kg Megha Tropiques and three smaller satellites together weighing 42.6 kg.

Megha Tropiques is an Indo-French collaboration to study climatic and atmospheric changes in tropical regions and will make India the second nation in the world to launch such a space mission.

The satellite will look down at the earth from around 800 km low earth orbit and is expected to enable the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to forecast weather in a more precise manner.

The three nano satellites that will be ferried by the PSLV are the 10.9-kg SRMSAT built by the students of SRM University near Chennai, the three-kg remote sensing satellite Jugnu from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur and the 28.7-kg VesselSat from Luxembourg to locate ships on high seas.

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