Rain not lightning a threat to Chandrayaan-I launch time

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Bangalore, Oct 21 (UNI) With the clock ticking for India's maiden unmanned moon mission's launch at 0620 hrs from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota tomorrow, rain under the influence of North East monsoon is lashing the sprawling island. .

Officials in ISRO, however, said rain would not pose much of a problem. But, intermittent lightning could hamper the time of the launch.

ISRO Director K Satish told UNI that there was no threat of a cyclone-like weather and only frequent 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 be a problem,'' he said when contacted 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 on filling the liquid fuel to second and fourth stages of the modified PSLV-C11 launch vehicle which was moved from the assembly facility on October 17.

The 316 tone, 44 metre PSLV launch vehicle has been the workhorse of ISRO which has launched satellites for 12 times so far. Only once, on its maiden trip, had it 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.

The newly built Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) are, meanwhile, all spruced up to receive the first signals of the 1380 kg spacecraft which would reach the earth's orbit in 1089 seconds once after the liftoff.

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 Bangalore, will perform the important task of receiving the radio signals from the spacecraft.

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

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