With the countdown having started for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C21) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota at 09:51 hrs (IST) on September 9, the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr. K. Radhakrishnan offered his customary pre-launch prayers at the famous Shiva temple at Srikalahasti near Tirupati on Friday on his way to SHAR.

Also present in his high profile entourage were the chief of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, P.S. Veeraraghavan, Scientific Secretary to ISRO, Dr. Koteswara Rao and Chairman and the Managing Director of ‘Antrix’—the commercial arm of the ISRO, V.S. Hedge.

After participating in the elaborate rituals at the Srikalahasti temple, the ISRO Chairman told mediapersons that the launch of the PSLV-C21 was significant, in that it would be the 100th launch from SHAR. The previous 99 launches included 62 satellite launches and 33 test missile launches.

He said the PSLV-C21 would inject into space the French satellite, SPOT-6 and the Japanese satellite PROITERES into an orbit of 655 km altitude.

As for the other ISRO launches this year, he cited two major programmes—one from the space station in French Guyana scheduled for September 21 and the other from SHAR itself in December. School children of Srikalahasti gave a warm welcome to the ISRO Chairman .