Rain no problem, but lightning may pose problem for moon mission

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Bangalore, Oct 21 (UNI) Rain under the influence of Northeast monsoon is lashing the sprawling Sriharikota island, the spaceport of ISRO, from where India's first unmanned space mission Chandrayaan-1 to moon's orbit would be launched tomorrow at 0620 hrs.

However, officials in ISRO said rain would not pose much problem and only intermittent lightning could hamper the timing of the launch.

ISRO Director K Satish told UNI that there was no threat of a cyclone-like weather and only frequent incidence of lightning may affect the launch.

"There is no warning of any cyclonic storms building up over the Bay (of Bengal). Rain will not affect the launch, but if there is too much of lightning, it may pose a problem," he said over telephone.

With just a few hours left for the lift off the final count down has begun. After the 49-hour countdown began yesterday morning, the first 32 hours was spent filling the liquid fuel to second and fourth stages of the improvised PSLV-C11 launch vehicle which was moved from the assembly facility on October 17.

The 316 tone, 44 metre launch vehicle is the workhorse of ISRO which has launched satellites using it for 12 times so far. Only once, on its maiden trip, it had failed, while the other launches have been a story of grand success.

"Now the filling of mano mithyel hydrazine as propellant and liquid hydrogen as oxidyser to the two stages are over and the final checks and rechecks are on. Everything is being done remotely from the controlling station in the island," Mr Satish said.

Meanwhile the newly built Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) are all spruced up to receive the first signals of the 1380 kg spacecraft which would reach the earth's orbit in 1089 seconds once it is launched.

The first signals are expected to be received at space stations in Indonesia and later at the IDSN. The network situated near Bylalu Village about 35 km from the city performs the important task of receiving the radio signals from the spacecraft.

The other ground segments of Chandrayaan consist of Spacecraft Control Centre and Indian Space Science Data Centre, both in the city.

UNI RS MSP GM2009

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