BANGALORE, India (AFP) — India will later this month launch a remote sensing satellite equipped with high-resolution cameras and advanced scientific instruments, space agency officials said here.
Cartosat-2A, as the all-weather, reconnaissance satellite is called, will be used to plan urban and rural development projects. It can also be used for intelligence gathering, the officials said Friday.
"The tentative launch date is April 28," Indian Space Research Organisation chairman G. Madhavan Nair told reporters in Bangalore where the agency is based.
"The exact date and time will be finalised in a fortnight after factoring weather and other relevant data," he added.
Identical to the mapping satellite Cartosat-2, which was launched in January 2007, the 680-kilogram (1,500-pound) Cartosat-2A will be placed in a polar orbit at an altitude of 630 kilometres (391 miles).
The satellite will be launched by the Indian-developed rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, from the Sriharikota space station in southern India.
India started its space programme in 1963, and has since developed and put several of its own satellites into space. It has also designed and built launch rockets to reduce its dependence on overseas space agencies.
Space agency chairman Nair said the body has finalised a project report concerning a manned mission by 2014-15.
"The report is being submitted to the government for approval and budgetary allocation," he said. "The Space Commission, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will meet next week or so to review the report and take a decision."