5:56 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Countdown for Mars Orbiter Mission begins Nov 3

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How Mars could have been warm and wet enough to form ancient valleys
How Mars could have been warm and wet enough to form ancient valleys

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) – The final countdown for India’s ambitious Rs.430-crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will begin Nov 3 morning, while the full launch rehearsal will be Thursday, a top official of the Indian space agency said Wednesday.

“The countdown for the Mars Orbiter Mission will begin Sunday at 6.08 a.m.,” K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told reporters.

The rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) carrying MOM will blast off Nov 5 afternoon 2.38 p.m from here, around 80 km from Chennai.

The launch rehearsal of the rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25) will begin Thursday, and last over eight hours.

According to PSLV-C25 mission director P. Kunhikrishnan, during the launch rehearsal, except for pressing the ignition button, every other activity related to the rocket launch will be carried out.

Radhakrishnan reiterated that India is not in the space race with any other nation. He said India’s second mission to the moon is planned for 2016, and the moon lander will be indigenously developed.

He said the moon mission will be on India’s heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Radhakrishnan said ISRO would fly GSLV rockets prior to the moon mission.

According to him, the next GSLV mission with GSAT-14 satellite is slated for this December.

In July, ISRO called off its GSLV launch mission prior to the launch, due to some fuel leakage.

The notable aspect of the mission is that the rocket is fitted with an ISRO-developed cryogenic engine.

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