It will be a small step for mankind, but a giant leap forward for India. In a boost to national prestige, the country will launch its first moon mission on wedensday(22oct) – blasting its Chandrayaan satellite into space from an island off the Bay of Bengal, using a domestically produced rocket system.
As the launch of Chandrayaan-I, India’s first mission to the moon, entered its final hours, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota was buzzing with activity and excitement.
The countdown — reduced from 52 to 49 hours since activities ahead of it were completed three hours in advance — began at 5.22 on Monday morning. This countdown period will entail wide-ranging synchronised activities during which a large number of scientists will perform different sets of well-rehearsed tasks, leading to the historic launch on Wednesday at 6.20 in the morning.
The modified PSLV is all set to lift of from Sriharikota early tomorrow morning. If all goes according to plan, India will become the third Asian country to have put a satellite into a lunar orbit after Japan and China — which managed the feat just last year.
“This is the most exciting phase. Until the time the satellite is launched successfully, I think hardly anyone will be able to sleep. There are a number of tasks that have to be completed very carefully and everyone is busy with their jobs,” said Dr M Y S Prasad, associate director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
“About 43 tonnes of propellant would be filled during the countdown period. Pressurisation of actuators (mechanisms) will also be done at the same time,” he added.
Prasad said it would take about 32 hours for both filling of propellants and pressurisation. Other things, including couple of launch testing will also be done during the period.
The 239,000-mile journey is not straightforward – it took the Americans and Russians almost two decades to master it,sleeping giants India and China were barely a blip on the radar. No one could have envisaged that these countries will in just 40 years start to dramatically shift the highly polarized world economy eastwards.
Coming back to the Chandrayaan -1 mission,Apart from filling up the engines with liquid propellants, scientists will also be busy with a few launch tests that need to be done during the countdown period. The testing of all the 11 payloads being carried by Chandrayaan has already been completed successfully.
Critics say that the space mission is a “space race” with China in harnessing the lunar mineral wealth, others point towards an arms race claiming that rockets used for firing satellites can also be used for nuclear warheads.
Chandrayaan-I, India’s boldest and most ambitious scientific endeavour till date, is designed to carry out a number of experiments aimed at increasing humankind’s knowledge of the moon. Among the tasks that Chandrayaan-I is attempting to do for the first time ever is to map a high-resolution three-dimensional topography of the moon’s entire surface. It will also try to determine the mineral composition of moon’s surface through spectroscopic data and attempt to confirm the presence of water ice in the polar regions.
Whatever the results, tomorrow will be a Great Day in Indian History.We wish Isro a grand success.
Also Read Chandrayaan1 – India’s maiden moon mission