Sunday, 19 October 2008

Chandrayaan countdown to start on Monday, October 20.

Countdown for the launch of Chandrayaan-1, the country's first unmanned moon mission, will start on Monday, a top Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said. "The countdown will start on Monday early morning," Satish Dhawan Space Centre Associate Director MYS Prasad said.

The spacecraft, which will be launched on October 22, was moved to the launch pad on Friday evening, he said.

"Preparatory activities, including checking of various parameters in payloads, to start the countdown are going on," Prasad said.

He added that all operations are progressing satisfactorily for the launch of the spacecraft on Wednesday at 0620 hrs IST.

"About 42 tonnes of propellant would be filled during the countdown period," Prasad said.

According to the specifications given by officials, the spacecraft carrying 11 payloads (scientific instruments) weighs about 1,380 kg at the time of its launch.

The spacecraft is shaped like a cuboid with a solar panel projecting from one of its sides. The state-of-the-art sub-systems of the spacecraft facilitates safe and efficient functioning of its 11 payloads.

It is powered by a single solar panel generating a maximum power of 700W. A 36 Ampere-Hour (AH) Lithium ion battery supplies power when the solar panel is not illuminated by the sun.

"To make Chandrayaan-1 escape from orbiting the earth and to travel towards the moon, its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) is used," an official said, adding, "Liquid propellants needed for LAM as well as thrusters are stored onboard the spacecraft."

The craft's dual gimballed antenna will transmit scientific data gathered by its 11 payloads to earth, officials added.

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