The countdown for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C19) commenced at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, at 6.47 hrs here on Monday. The 71-hour countdown is considered the longest, with enough breaks for the comfort of the scientists.

The launch vehicle carries India's first Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1) weighing 1,858 kg, said to be the country's heaviest satellite till date. The space scientists planned a long countdown this time to give the crew time to relax at nights to avoid fatigue.

The precise launch of PSLV-C19/RISAT-1 mission is now set for 5.47 a.m. on Thursday (April 26). During the nearly three-day long countdown, the scientists will carry out propellant-filling, mandatory checks on launch vehicle, charging of batteries and checking of ground systems.

Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), held a meeting at SHAR on Sunday and will come again on April 25 for the final launch.

A host of space scientists, including Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre director P.S. Veeraraghavan, SHAR associate director M.Y.S. Prasad, deputy director Seshagiri Rao and Liquid Propellant Systems Centre director S. Ramakrishnan will be present on the launch day. The launch was supposed to take place two months ago but was postponed for various reasons.

At the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, nearly 500 staff and scientists have been toiling hard to make the mission a success. Scientists from other space centres too were deployed to help in the launch mission.

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