Countdown for India’s first moon mission begins tomorrow

Countdown for India’s first moon mission begins tomorrow


Bangalore/Chennai: The 52-hour countdown for Chandrayaan-1 -- India’s first unmanned moon mission -- will begin at Sriharikota spaceport early tomorrow for Wednesday’s historic launch.

The integrated launch vehicle has already been moved into the second launch pad (umbilical tower) and launch rehearsals are underway, sources in India Space Research Organization (Isro)at Bangalore said.

“All the preparatory work is going ion as per schedule and the formal countdown begins tomorrow morning at 0400 hrs," Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) associate director, Dr M Y S Prasad told PTI at Chennai.

SDSC officials said if the weather turns out to be good, the PSLV-C11 would take off from the second launch pad on 22October, at 0620 hrs.

Chandrayaan-1 is the first spacecraft mission of Isro beyond Earth orbit. It would be followed by Chandrayaan-2 which features a lander and rover. India and Russia would jointly participate in this project. However, there might be a provision to accommodate payloads from other space agencies as happened in Chandrayaan-1.

Studies are being conducted by Isro on sending unmanned spacecraft to planet Mars as well as to asteroids and comets. Through such programmes, Isro intends to undertake the exploration of space besides its primary mission of developing and utilzing space technology for the overall development of the country.