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Stage set for countdown as Chandrayaan is mated with rocket

The spacecraft will carry 11 payloads

BANGALORE (PTI): Gearing up for the final countdown for the October 22 moon mission, Chandrayaan-1 lunar spacecraft was today mated with the PSLV-C11 rocket at the Sriharikota spaceport, Indian Space Research Organisation said.

"The heat shield has been closed. Integrated test of the launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) is progressing satisfactorily for the launch on October 22 at 0620 hours," ISRO spokesperson S Satish told PTI in Bangalore.

Satish said the 52-hour countdown for the blast-off is expected to commence in the early hours of October 20.

Associate Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota Dr MYS Prasad said, "The next stage is to shift the spacecraft to the launch pad and it will be done either this evening or tomorrow morning." Prasad said a series of test would be conducted before the launch. "After conducting a series of tests, the launching would be as per schedule on October 22 morning," he told PTI over phone from Sriharikota.

According to officials, the 1,380-kg spacecraft would have a total of 11 payloads. All these payloads have a set of parameters, he said, adding the experts will watch the variation of various parameters under different test conditions on computer.

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