India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-12
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-12 blasts off from Satish Dhawan space center at Sriharikota, about 100 km (62 miles) north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, April 20, 2009. Reuters/Babu

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch the PSLV-C40 rocket from Southern India on 10 Jan. It plans on carrying 30 foreign satellites and 28 of those are from the U.S., including Dove Satellites from a U.S.-based aerospace and data analytics company named Planet Labs Inc.

The carrier will also have the earth observation spacecraft Cartosat, which is made in India. The PSLV will carry along with 30 other foreign satellites, from countries like U.S. and Finland. The launch will take place at the station in Sriharikota, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director Devi Prasad Karnik said that the mission would include the launch of 31 satellites — 28 from the U.S. one from India and the remaining two from other countries.

The last PSLV rocket failed to deliver India’s eighth regional navigation satellite in earth's lower orbit on Aug. 31.

ISRO officials said that the Aug. 31 mission failed because the 320-tonne workhorse launcher PSLV C39 failed to separate its heat shield to deliver the satellite from its cone-shaped top-end. It was the first failed launch by the country after 39 successful launches.

The four Dove satellites on the upcoming launch are tech demos responsible for testing improvements to several of the satellite subsystems, including camera technology, thermal control, and altitude determination and control system, Planet said in a statement.

“This is the third time in the last 24 months that our Doves will hitch a ride from India on a PSLV rocket. In February 2017, 88 Doves traveled on ISRO’s recording-breaking launch of 104 satellites,” the statement added.

Dove satellites are 3U (1U = 10 x 10 x 10 cm) category CubeSats designed and manufactured by Planet Labs. They will help capture images of Earth continuously and with their constellation of satellites, they provide a resolution of 3 - 5 m. Each satellite weighs around 10.3 pounds.

"We have a rich history with Planet and we are proud to be a reliable launch partner that they can count on for consistent and timely launches," said Rakesh S, Chairman and Managing Director, Antrix Corporation Limited said in an Asian News International (ANI) release. "Planet's appetite for launch capacity is impressive and we're excited that the PSLV continues to meet their needs."

Along with the Dove Satellites, the PSLV-C40 Cartosat, the indigenously built Indian observation satellite would have high-quality imaging cameras for cartographic, urban and rural applications.

It will be used to monitor the coasts, from space. It will also help monitor road networks across the nation.

"The sixth Cartosat in the second series and other satellites are integrated with the rocket at the spaceport. The mission launch board will decide the rocket's lift-off time for the reverse countdown two days ahead," Karnik was quoted as in this International Business Times report.

ISRO further said the Launch Authorization Board and the Mission Readiness Review committee are scheduled to hold a meeting next week to finalize the mission launch aboard the PSLV-C40 rocket.

ISRO created history by launching 104 satellites in one mission in Feb 2017 aboard the PSLV-C37 that launched the first Cartosat-2 series satellite and also carried several Dove Satellites.