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Launch drill successful, moon mission on track

India’s maiden unmanned moon mission’s launch rehearsals at Sriharikota progressed satisfactorily.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2008 23:50 IST

India’s maiden unmanned moon mission’s launch rehearsals at Sriharikota progressed satisfactorily. Scientists on Sunday geared up for the 52-hour countdown for Chandrayaan-1’s historic space voyage on Wednesday.

“All the preparatory work is going on as usual and the formal countdown would begin tomorrow morning about 4 a.m.,” Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) Associate Director M.Y.S. Prasad said on Sunday at Chennai. Sriharikota is about 100 km from Chennai.

“All the work including the checking of payloads went satisfactorily. The spacecraft launch would take place as per the schedule,” he said.

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

SDSC officials said if the weather does not play truant, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) would take off from the second launch pad on October 22.

“After the rehearsals, we will make sure that everything is in place before the countdown,” they said.

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