This month the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is expected to launch four payloads, including a recoverable capsule with technologies applicable to manned flight.

The PSLV will loft the 660kg (1,450lb) Cartosat-2 remote sensing satellite, its own 610kg Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE), a 50kg Indonesian micro satellite, Lapan Tubsat, and a 6kg Argentinian Pehuensat spacecraft.

The SRE, to be put into a 625km (390 miles) orbit, will aid ISRO's research into reusable launch systems and re-entry techniques necessary for a manned mission, which could take place in 2014. SRE will also be used for microgravity experiments and will land using a parachute in the Bay of Bengal about 140km east of Sriharikota island.

Cartosat-2 is a remote sensing satellite with a panchromatic camera to provide images for cartography. Lapan Tubsat is also to be used for remote sensing.

Later this year ISRO will launch its Oceanasat-2 also using a PSLV. Oceansat-2 will have an ocean colour monitor and Ku-band pencil beam scatterometer to identify potential fishing zones, aid sea state forecasting, coastal zone studies and inputs for weather forecasting and climate studies.

Source: Flight International