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Chandrayaan-I launch in October or December: Kasturirangan
August 20, 2008 15:56 IST
India's maiden moon mission Chandrayaan-I is set for a late October or an early December launch, according to noted space scientist and former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan.
The spacecraft, which will carry five Indian and six international experiments, has been assembled and undergoing a series of tests, he said.
The unmanned mission, which will orbit the moon for two years, is expected to be launched by late October or early December by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, said Kasturirangan, a Rajya Sabha member who is also the director of the National Institute for Advances Sciences, Bengaluru [Images].
He was speaking at a function in New Delhi [Images] to release a book titled, Destination Moon [Images]: India's Quest for the Moon and Beyond authored by science writers Pallava Bagla and Subhadra Menon.
The spacecraft, which is no bigger than a typical office cubicle, is currently undergoing tests for its ability to handle the extreme thermal and vacuum environment experienced in a lunar orbit. These assessments will be followed by vibration and acoustic tests.
"The thermovac test will continue for about three weeks, which takes us to a late October launch, otherwise it would be in December as satellite launches do not take place in November, a cyclone season," Kasturirangan said.
Meanwhile, India has already begun work on the next lunar mission in which space scientists plan to land a rover on the surface of the moon to collect rock and dust samples.
Chandrayaan-II will be developed as a joint venture project with Russia [Images] and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed in that regard.
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