labels: Indian Space Research Organisation, News reports
India's lunar mission, Chandrayaan-I, readying for a 22 October launch news
07 October 2008

Bangalore: India's ambitious space project, the lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-I, will be launched on 22 October from the Sriharikota launch pads, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO sources said that the launch rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11), will blast off at 6.20 am on this day, weather conditions permitting.

"We have set 22 October as the tentative date for the launch of lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1, though the launch window will be kept open till 26 October," ISRO director S Satish said.

"Weather permitting, the launch will take place around 6:30 am (0100 GMT)."

The Rs386-crore lunar mission is not only India's most ambitious space programme but also a precursor to the joint Indo-Russian Chandrayaan-II, which will land a robot on the lunar surface. Both these missions will act as precursors to a possible manned mission to the Earth's satellite.

The Chandrayaan-I mission was launched five years back by the government.

The spacecraft will be mated with the PSLV-C11 later this week, ISRO sources said.

Chandrayaan-I is carrying 11 payloads -- five from India and six others, including the US, Europe and Bulgaria. The spacecraft would orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km mapping the topography and the mineralogical content of the lunar soil.

The orbiter will also fire a Moon Impact Probe, which will demonstrate technological capabilities required to affect a  safe landing on the Moon's surface.

The Chandrayaan-I is the first step towards ISRO's attempts to explore outer space and the launch of inter-planetary missions.

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India's lunar mission, Chandrayaan-I, readying for a 22 October launch