Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC SHAR) in Sriharikota, 120 km from here, on Saturday evening to witness the historic 100th mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
He is here to see the wholly commercial launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). There will be no Indian satellite on it for the third time in 21 missions. The PSLV-C21 will lift off at 9.51 a.m. on Sunday from the First Launch Pad of the spaceport.
The space mission is aimed at putting into orbit three satellites — ‘SPOT-6’, a 720-kg French remote sensing satellite, and ‘PROITERES’, a 15-kg Japanese observation satellite. The French satellite has been built by Astrium SAS, a European space technology company.
The Prime Minister, who arrived here by helicopter from Chennai at 5.30 p.m., will stay overnight at the SHAR centre.
He was received by Andhra Pradesh Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, and ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan at the helipad.
Dr. Singh will arrive at the Mission Control Centre half an hour before the scheduled launch and stay till 10.30 a.m. before leaving for Chennai by helicopter.
Once the PSLV is put into orbit, ISRO would have crossed a major milestone in attracting commercial assignments.