Bangalore, Oct.17 : India on Friday moved a step closer to launch its maiden unmanned moon mission with the help of the lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-I.
The Chandrayaan-I was mated with the polar rocket which is set to blast off on October 22 from Sriharikota.
Officials of the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) said all operations related to the mission are progressing satisfactorily and barring a cyclone threat, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) will take off on October 22 at 6.20 a.m.
"The heat-shield closing operations around the spacecraft has been completed. Integrated test of the homegrown launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) is progressing satisfactorily for the launch on October 22 at 0620 hours", ISRO spokesperson S Satish said in Bangalore.
Satish said the 52-hour countdown for the blast-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, 100 km from Chennai, is expected to commence in the early hours of October 20.
The Centre's Associate Director, Dr M Y S Prasad, said: "The next stage is to shift the 1,300 kg spacecraft to the launch pad and it will be done either this evening or tomorrow morning".
Prasad said that a series of tests would be conducted before the launch, following which the launch would go ahead as per schedule.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair was quoted by an agency as saying that ISRo scientists were working 24x7 to ensure a smooth launch.