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Fingers crossed at Chandrayaan launch site

Vicky Nanjappa | October 21, 2008 14:58 IST

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Intermittent rains in Nellore district which houses Shriharikota may not affect the launch of India's first moon mission, Chandrayan-1. Indian Space Research Organisation officials told that the mission will take off on time and the weather may not be a factor.

Due to bad weather the countdown for the launch of the mission started two hours behind schedule on Monday.

ISRO officials are optimistic that the launch will take place at 0620 hrs on October 22 as per schedule. Nearly 1000 scientists are working overtime in Shriharikota to ensure that the launch is smooth. The countdown process was also supervised personally by ISRO chairman, Madhavan Nair on Monday.

ISRO officials say that the PSLV rocket can sustain a slight drizzle but there could be a problem in case of a heavy downpour at the time of the launch. Everyone at Shriharikota is keeping their fingers crossed so that the weather remains fine and does not play spoilsport during this historic event. ISRO officials say that they hope that there is fine weather. The meterorology department of ISRO is closely monitoring the situation. Only a cyclonic storm or heavy lightning can hold up the launch, they say.

The successful launch of the Chandrayan-1 will prove to be a major step towards achieving another dream and that is to have a manned mission.

M C Dathan, director at the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, Shriharikota Range says that a preliminary study in this regard has been done and submitted to the Space Commission. Although the proposal has been cleared by the Space Commission, it is pending approval from the government.

Dathan adds that the proposal is likely to be cleared in two months. Sources say that a manned mission to the moon will be a reality by 2015 and ISRO plans to develop a training facility in this regard at Bangalore.

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