Bangalore, Chennai: Taking a vital step closer to the launch of India's maiden unmanned mission to the moon, the Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft has been mated with the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) that will carry it to its orbit 100 kilometres above the moon's surface, after blasting off from the Sriharikota spaceport on 22 October.
ISRO officials have reported satisfactory progress of the project as they move towards the final countdown. Barring a cyclone threat or adverse weather, the PSLV-C11 is set to keep its date with India's pioneering lunar mission that is set to blast off on the country's historic mission on 22 October at 6.20 am.
In Bangalore, ISRO spokesperson S Satish said that the heat-shield closing operations around the spacecraft have been completed, and the integrated test of the home-grown launch vehicle PSLV-C11 is progressing satisfactorily for launch on 22 October at 0620 hours. He said the 52-hour countdown for the blast-off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, 100 kilometres from Chennai is expected to start in the early hours of 20 October.
In the next stage, the 1,300 kilogramme spacecraft would be moved to the launch pad, which will be done sometime before tomorrow morning, according to the centre's associate director Dr M Y S Prasad. He said a series of tests would be conducted prior to the launch.