India's Mars Orbiter Mission is slated to be launched on October 28 after a national committee of experts gave the go ahead for the Rs 450 crore ambitious venture after threadbare deliberations.
The committee held deliberations over two days on Thursday and Friday last and reviewed the status after senior Indian Space Research Organisation scientists gave an in-depth presentation on the mission.
Primary objectives of the mission are to demonstrate India's technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life, take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment.
"The committee has given the go ahead", an ISRO official told PTI in Bangalore on Sunday.
Former ISRO Chairman U R Rao, noted space expert Roddam Narasimha and Professors of Indian Institute of Science Bangalore were among those part of the eminent panel.
The October 21-November 19 launch window has now been pushed forward by a week, and it now starts on October 28 though final date of the window remains the same (Nov19).
"We would like to utilise the first available opportunity", the official said, adding, the launch can be expected on the afternoon of October 28, weather permitting.
The Rs 150-crore Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is currently underoing vibration and acoustic tests at ISRO Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment in Bangalore, and is slated for shipment from here on September 30 to the Sriharikota spaceport after a pre-shipment committee review on September 26.
Launch campaign has already commenced in Sriharikota spaceport from where the 1,350-kg MOM spacecraft is slated to be launched by the Rs 110 crore Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The first stage of the PSLV-C25 with strap-ons has already been assembled, with the rocket ready for satellite integration by October 10.
Image: Scientists at ISRO working on the Mars mission in Bangalore
Photographs: Courtesy: ISRO