First rehearsal of moon mission Chandrayaan goes off fine

October 19th, 2008 - 12:16 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROChennai, Oct 19 (IANS) India’s first lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 was fitted to the launch pad for rehearsals late Saturday night and they “went off well”, a top space agency official said Sunday three days ahead of the final launch. “The launch rehearsal was held at 10 p.m. and everything went off fine. It is like a dress rehearsal ahead of the Oct 22 launch,” a scientist said declining to be named.

The fully integrated Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) with the lunar spacecraft atop was moved to the launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km from Chennai, and off the Bay of Bengal.

“Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) centre at Sriharikota and at the tracking centre in Bangalore were involved in the operation,” he told IANS.

The scientists are keeping their fingers crossed that the weather on Wednesday would be fine. While met officials have predicted rain on the day, scientists say it will not affect the launch. “Only cyclone and lightning will be a problem,” the official said.

ISRO director S. Satish told IANS: “The 316-tonne launch vehicle with the 1,380 kg spacecraft was fitted to the launch pad. The launch exercises, including testing, are in progress. About 1,000 scientists and technicians are working round-the-clock to prepare for the 52-hour initial countdown from the wee hours of Oct 20.”

With 11 scientific instruments (payloads), including six foreign and five Indian, Chandrayaan was mated with the launch vehicle late Thursday for mandatory checks and the final journey.

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