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India's lunar spacecraft positioned on rocket
15/10/2008 17:37

A week before launch, India's lunar mission has progressed one step further, with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft installed atop the rocket ferrying it, the Indo-Asian News Service reported today.
"The spacecraft was fitted to the rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C11 (PSLV C11) last night. Today the heat shield will be fitted to make the rocket ready for moving to the launch pad," M. Annadurai, project director of Chandrayaan-1 said.
The rocket is scheduled to be moved to the launch pad Saturday. Before that, all the systems are being tested over a four-day period.
Once the fully loaded rocket is moved to the launch pad on a mobile platform, the systems will be again tested for four days more, the report said.
India's first lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1, built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is likely to lift off next week from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, about 90 km from south Indian city Chennai, five years after the Indian government cleared the project.
It will make an entry into the lunar atmosphere for a two-year mission.
The spacecraft will orbit around the moon at an altitude of 100 km to map the topography and the mineralogical resources of the lunar soil, ISRO said.
The 52-hour countdown for the launch will begin at 4 am local time next Monday. The launch to deliver the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into orbit is scheduled at 6.20 am next Wednesday, Oct. 22.