Bangalore: Chandrayaan – I, the lunar spacecraft that is part of India's first unmanned mission to the Moon, has successfully cleared an endurance test in the harsh space environment, which is a major milestone in the preparation for the lunar odyssey expected some time next month.
A two-week vacuum test to evaluate the thermal design of the spacecraft and to verify its endurance in the harsh environment in space was completed at ISRO Satellite Centre at Bangalore.
Talking to a news agency, ISRO sources said that the test was ''satisfactory" and as part of the further course of action, environment and acoustics tests would be next. Sources also said that the pre-shipment review can be expected by around the end of the month.
The launch date is expected to be formally announced by ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair sometime next week.
However, reports suggest that 22 October would be the first available date for the ambitious launch, and that the launch window would be between 22 and 26 October.
Just shy of 1,400 kilograms, the Chandrayaan-I would be launched by a 316-tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at the spaceport of Sriharikota.
Chandrayaan – I will carry six scientific payloads from NASA, ESA and Bulgaria. Additionally, the payload would include five Indian instruments. The uniqueness of the mission is that as part of its exploration of the moon, it will undertake a complete mapping of the moon, which has not been carried out till the present day despite a number of international missions to Earth's solitary satellite. Chandrayaan – I will not land on the moon.