India is all set to mark another historic moment on Monday when its first navigational satellite - Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS-1A), aboard the PSLV-C 22, takes off from Sriharikota at around 11:41 PM on Monday (1 July).
"The 64-and-a-half-hour countdown for the launch of PSLV-C22, which will carry IRNSS-1A started on Saturday morning at 7.11 am. We are on schedule and everything is normal," ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik told PTI.
This is the first time in the history of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that a rocket is launching around midnight. According to the ISRO spokesman, the weather at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota is clear and unlikely to pose any obstacles.
IRNSS which includes seven identical satellites is being designed to provide services like standard positioning system (SPS) for civilian uses and restricted system (RS) for users. The satellites which carry rubidium atomic clocks also provide accurate position information service to users within the country and up to 1,500 km from the nation's boundary.
The seven satellites with a life span of 10 years will mainly cover the area around India. Three of them will be positioned in geostationary orbit and four in geosynchronous orbit.
"Apart from making us self-reliant, it is also about building technological capability. We already have communication satellites. Navigation satellites are the next step," said Deviprasad Karnik.
According to repots, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan is likely to brief the media after the launch of the rocket. The next ISRO project is the launch of communication satellite G-Sat 14, which is expected in August.