Chandrayan I enters final phase of launch

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Bangalore, Oct 18 (UNI) The 1380-kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft set for launch on October 22, entered the final phase with the launch vehicle moved to the launch pad at Sriharikota 100 km North of Chennai.

The count down will begin in the early hours of Monday, an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said.

ISRO's well proven PSLV-C11 launch vehicle, the 13th in the series weighing 316 tonne, would hurl the spacecraft to the earth's orbit and it will be gradually pushed to the lunar orbit.

"The vehicle has been moved last night to the second launch pad, moving a distance of one km from the assembly facility. The final tests and launch exercises are on and we are working round the clock. Weather permitting it will be a perfect launch of our first space mission beyond the earth orbit," ISRO Director S Satish said today.

Speaking to UNI here he said the mood was buoyant with scientists and others working round the clock. The vehicle was moved to the second launch pad on rails. The rocket had been fixed to the launch pad, he said.

The launch had been set for 0620 hrs on October 22. It was hoped that the Northeast monsoon which had set during the last few days would not affect the launch.

For the first time ISRO is taking as many as 11 payloads which include six foreign instruments.

A 52-hour countdown would begin at 0220 hrs on Friday which marks filling of the propellants into the last stage of the launch vehicle. The actual countdown would begin 12 hours prior to the launch.

Meanwhile, the Indian Deep Sapce Network, The Rs 100 crore facility built near the city is the focal point of all operational activities of Chandrayaan-1. It is ready to receive the first signals which is expected to be received at 1230 PM on October 22.

With a gigantic 32-metre dameter antenna and another with 18 m at Byalalu, situated 35 km from here, IDSN performs iportant task of receiving the radio signals from Chandrayaan-1.

UNI RS MSP GM1948

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