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India’s first moon mission

As the Indian space scientists are working on the launch of the Chandrayaan-I on October 22, their only prayer on the Dasara puja on Wednesday seems to be for fair weather on D-day. See Graphic

india Updated: Oct 09, 2008 01:18 IST
BR Srikanth

As the Indian space scientists are working on the launch of the Chandrayaan-I on October 22, their only prayer on the Dasara puja on Wednesday seems to be for fair weather on D-day.

For, the prospect of weather playing truant could delay the flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11), which will carry the Chandrayaan-I.

“It is a real technological breakthrough, as our spacecraft has to travel 400,000 km in space. It’s the stepping stone to our planetary exploration projects,” Dr G. Madhavan Nair, chairman, ISRO, said.

He said: “The monsoon has been unpredictable this year. Heavy winds and lightning could disrupt our plans.” Nair also said the spacecraft would provide inputs on the composition of the lunar surface and the minerals and “we will be able to prepare a map of the lunar surface. That’s a big accomplishment.”

Ayudha Puja — a ritual common in south India on the ninth day of Dasara — was performed at Antriksh Bhavan, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s headquarters, its Satellite Centre and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

On this day, tools, weapons and machines — even computers and vehicles — are decorated with flowers and vermilion and worshipped for success in coming years.