Indian Rocket Launching Earth-Observation Satellite, 13 Cubesats Tonight: Watch Live

An Indian rocket will deliver 14 satellites to orbit tonight (Nov. 26), and you can watch the liftoff live.

The Indian Space Research Organisation rocket, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), is scheduled to launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the island of Sriharikota at 10:58 p.m. EST (9:28 a.m. on Nov. 27 local Indian time). You can watch it live here at when the time comes, courtesy of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), or directly via the ISRO.

The primary payload tonight is India's Cartosat-3, an advanced Earth-observation satellite that will meet increased "demands for large-scale urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development, coastal land use and land cover, etc.," ISRO officials wrote in a press kit about tonight's mission.

The PSLV will also loft 12 Earth-observing cubesats built by San Francisco-based company Planet, which sells imagery to a variety of customers. The dozen craft going up tonight are "SuperDoves," the latest iteration of Planet's compact, sharp-eyed satellites, company representatives said. 

Planet already has 26 SuperDove prototypes in orbit, along with more than 100 other functional spacecraft. The company has deployed more than 350 satellites in Earth orbit to date, with the first such delivery occurring in 2013.

The other cubesat launching tonight is "Meshbed," a technology demonstrator provided by Massachusetts-based Analytical Space Inc. (ASI). 

Meshbed is "intended to pave the way for users on the ground to gain faster access to satellite data," ASI representatives wrote in a mission description. "The spacecraft features a patented MITRE antenna that could help enable that application, as well as government missions including tactical communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance."

Tonight's launch will be the 21st for the PSLV in the "XL" configuration, which features six solid strap-on rocket motors, and the 74th liftoff from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, ISRO officials said.

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.