India’s moon mission may lift off Oct 19

September 18th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghBangalore/New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Weather permitting, India’s maiden moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, may lift off Oct 19 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, scientists associated with the odyssey indicated Thursday. “The tentative date is Oct 19,” they said in Bangalore after completing all the work on the cuboid-shaped 590 kg spacecraft that will carry 11 payloads.

Meanwhile, the government Thursday approved a sequel to the mission few years down the line.

“The union cabinet today gave its approval for undertaking lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 and upgrading the associated existing ground segment at a total cost of Rs.425 crores (Rs.4.25 bn),” Information and Broadcasting Minister P.R. Dasmunsi told reporters in New Delhi after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Chandrayaan-1 will be launched by indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and will carry payloads of six foreign countries - the US, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria - apart from those of India.

Scientists said that the Chadrayaan-1 spacecraft will be shipped later this month, most likely on Sep 30, to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota for the launch.

“We have completed the integration of the satellite,” Chandrayaan-1 director M. Annadurai told reporters at ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore.

Chandrayaan-1, estimated to cost nearly Rs.4 billion, will beam back digital elevation maps of the moon and its mineral concentration, as also carry out environmental studies and measure radioactivity on the lunar surface.

It will try to find the traces of atomic elements such as Radon, Uranium and Thorium.

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