Chandrayaan-I getting ready for the launch

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Sriharikota, Oct 13: Preparations for the final stages of launch of Chandrayaan-I, India's first unmanned lunar mission are on. There is real excitement at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR from where it will be blasted off on Wednesday, Oct 22. The mood at the SHAR is really upbeat for the final countdown of India's leap into the outer space. ''We are all really excited. The world itself is excited,'' SHAR Director M C Dathan told visiting journalists from Thiruvananthapuram.

''Till now we had only gone up to 36,000 km. Now we are moving from 36,000 km to about 3.8 lakh km. From the geo-synchronous orbit, we are now moving to the lunar orbit, which is a great milestone for the country,'' he said.

''Every one here is engaged completely in the mission and the mood is upbeat,'' Mr Dathan said.

VSSC director K Radhakrishnan, PSLV Project Director George Koshi and Mission Director Annadurai were all seen to be in an upbeat mood while explaining about the mission.

''This is going to be an important mission in the history of India. For the fist time, we are going to circle the moon, which is a real excitement,'' Mr Radhakrisnan said.

Talking about the greatest challenge faced in the mission, he said the mission itself was a challenge. ''The challenge is to place the Chandrayaan in a 100 km orbit around the moon. We are confident of reaching this orbit,'' he said.

Mr Koshi said the PSLV-C11 is all ready and waiting for the satellite to be installed and integrated to the vehicle tomorrow.

''For the last so many months, we were all with the satellite and the vehicle. We are so excited to see it leaping into the sky,'' he said.

The Chandrayaan-I will blast off into the sky at 0620 hrs on October 22 from here. Its main objetive is to look into the distribution of various minerals and chemical elements and high-resolution three-dimensional mapping of the entire lunar surface.


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