Antenna to keep track of Lunar mission erected

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Bangalore, Oct 17 (UNI) Ahead of India's Maiden Lunar mission, scheduled for October 22, a 32-long antenna was erected at Bylalu, on the outskirts of the city today to track the spacecraft.

The antenna was formally installed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair, Electronic Corporation of India Ltd Chairman and Managing Director K S Rajashekhar Rao told reporters here.

The 300 tonne antenna, built at a cost of Rs 68 crore, would start sending signals six hours after the launch when it passes through the 'transfer orbit' before the final stage.

The indigenously-developed antenna was erected at Byalalu, about 40 km away from the city, as the location met all geographical and radio frequency requirements for such a facility, he said.

The antenna, with a life of two decades, could also be used for future deep space programmes or inter-planetary missions by the ISRO.

''The range of the antenna for deep space coverage is millions of km or the entire solar system,'' he claimed and added that the moon was just four lakh km away from earth.

Allaying fears on possibile health hazards that the antenna may cause, Mr Rao said ''it would not cause any ill-effects on the health of the people of the surrounding areas as the antenna had a built-in mechanism to control radiation.'' The antenna would serve three functions-- telemetry, command and collection of scientific data of the space programme.

UNI SIV SJ SB BD1755

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