All set for India's space odyssey to Moon

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Chennai, Oct 21 (UNI) India will join a select band of nations, when PSLV-CII carrying Chandrayaan-I satellite, lifts off from the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 80 km from here, tomorrow.

ISRO sources told UNI that the T-49 hour countdown, which began at 0520 hrs yesterday morning, was progressing smoothly and the PSLV rocket, India's trusted workhorse launch vehicle, would blast off as scheduled at 0620 hrs tomorrow.

Though it has been raining in Sriharikota since yesterday as the Northeast moon soon became active, Scientists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre were burning the midnight oil to ensure that the launch was a success.

''As of now there is no change in the schedule of India's maiden unmanned Moon mission. The PSLV will zoom into space from the second launch pad at 0620 hrs tomorrow morning,'' the sources said.

With tomorrow's launch India would be joining a select group of nations that included Russia, US, EU, China and Japan which had hit the lunar surface in the past.

The Rs 386 crore Lunar Mission would be India's first bold step beyond Earth orbit into deep space.

The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-1 were to expand scientific knowledge about the moon, upgrade India's technological capability and to provide challenging opportunities for planetary research to the younger generation of Indian scientists.

This would be achieved through high resolution remote sensing of the Moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical mapping of entire lunar surface was envisaged, the sources said.


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