Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV-C8 is set to blast off today from Sriharikota at 3:30 pm. A successful launch would enable India to join an influential rank of countries that offer commercial space launch services as the PSLV is carrying a 360kg Italian satellite 'Agile' as its primary payload.
So far foreign payloads have piggybacked on ISRO rockets, which have been carrying Indian satellites as their main payloads. This is the first, purely commercial mission where an Indian payload will actually be riding piggyback on the foreign one.
The PSLV is the workhorse of the Indian space programme. With the PSLV, India is set to compete for a share of the low-cost launch space service market, with countries such as India, China, Japan, Brazil, Italy and Israel. India is targeting a 10% share of the $2 billion global market.
The 42-hour countdown for the launch of 11th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C8 from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh began last evening.
"Everything is proceeding according to schedule," an ISRO spokesman said, adding the weather was clear.
If the countdown proceeds without any hitch, the PSLV-C8 should take off on its first commercial mission at around 1530 hrs today.