Come rain or shine, India’s lunar mission to keep Oct 22 date (Lead)

October 11th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROSriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) Oct 11 (IANS) Come rain or shine, India’s maiden moon mission to be launched from here Oct 22 will proceed as scheduled, with scientists at work to weatherproof the project.Except for a a severe cyclone, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C11 will blast off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) here as scheduled.

“A seven-member team of weather experts from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Indian Meteorological Department and form overseas will be formed to monitor and study the weather data six days prior to the launch date,” SDSC director M.C. Dathan told reporters.

According to S. Krishnamurthy, general manager (safety), “only a severe cyclone will make us rethink on the launch.”

Meanwhile, launch preparations for Chandrayaan-1 are proceeding at a hectic pace here.

The Chandrayaan satellite is getting readied to be encased at the rocket’s top deck before the heat shield is closed.

“On Sunday we will do gas charging and propellant filling of the satellite. The fuel filling will take three days,” Dathan said.

The satellite will carry propellent weighing around 750 kg that will be used for pushing it up from the geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) to the lunar orbit.

The satellite will have 50kg fuel extra to take care of the contingencies.

According to officials, the spacecraft will be mated with the rocket on Oct 14, followed by four days of further testing.

On Oct 18, the fully loaded rocket will be moved from the assembly building to the second launchpad. Though the distance between the two is just one kilometre, it will take two hours for the rocket mounted on a mobile platform to reach the launchpad.

At the launchpad the rocket systems and its payloads will be tested for another four days before it is sent up Oct 22nd at 6.20 a.m. India time.

The rocket will carry 11 payloads - five from India and the remaining from abroad - to conduct various scientific experiments while the satellite goes around the moon for two years.

“ISRO is not charging anything for carrying the foreign payloads as the experiment data will be shared with us as well,” said M.Y.S. Prasad, associate director.

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