The countdown for 46th PSLV lift-off flight has started and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Microsat-R, the 740-kg military imaging satellite into space today at 11:37 PM, to mark the first lift off of 2019 – with 32 missions in line for the year.

While India is getting ready for the manifesto celebrations of Republic Day pumped with patriotism and advancements of independent India, the nation’s space agency ISRO is getting ready to launch the first space mission of this year, and ISRO’s first-ever military-meant satellite into the orbit. The lift off is expected to happen at about 11:37 PM today evening, carrying the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Microsat-R military imaging satellite, and the Kalamsat student satellite.

First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota will facilitate the launch of PSLV-C44, and after a successful lift off, the PSLV will place Microsat-R military satellite in polar orbit at an altitude of 247 km from the land surface, within just 15 min of take-off. Much details about the military satellite has not been revealed but it has been reported that the Microsat-R is “assembled outside and ISRO only interfaced it” with its own systems and the launch vehicle, just as it treats any customer satellite.

The second satellite is Kalamsat, named after Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, is a student-developed payload powered by a Chennai based ‘Space KIdz India’. The mission is unique as they will be experimenting about reusing the spent fourth stage [PS4] of the rocket as an orbiting platform for launching the Kalamsat. Talking about the student satellite, ISRO Chairman K.Sivan says that Kalamsat will be a short-lived experiment and would start about 1.5 hours from take-off and last about 14 hours until Friday midday. The ISRO’s first launch of 2019 will be followed by an array of other space missions through the year, including  the launch of Chandrayaan-2, the EMISAT and 30 commercial satellites, PSLV-C46 for Cartosat-3, and PSLV-C47 for RISAT 2BR 1.