India's Mars satellite mated with rocket
The Indian space agency Sunday completed integration of its Mars mission satellite with the rocket while the heat shield is expected to be closed in couple of days, said an official.
"The 1,340 kg satellite was mated with the rocket today (Sunday). The heat shield will be closed in two or three days after tests. Everything is progressing normally on the rocket and the satellite side," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.
On Saturday ISRO chairman K.Radhakrishnan told IANS that the Rs.450 crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will be delayed by a week as out of of the two ships - Nalanda and Yamuna - carrying rocket tracking systems, only the latter has reached Fiji.
The Nalanda is expected to reach there Oct 21. From there, both the ships have to travel to their respective locations to track the rocket, ISRO officials told IANS.
The ships have terminals to track the rocket, which has a coasting period of around 20 minutes beyond the visibility of existing ground stations.
The Malgalyaan mission was originally slated for Oct 28 from ISRO's rocket launch centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, around 80 km from here.
According to ISRO officials, there is no problem as far as the mission is concerned.
Radhakrishnan said as the launch window is between Oct 28-Nov 19, the revised launch date will be decided Oct 22 after the ship reaches Fiji.
Incidentally Oct 22 is seems to be a special date for ISRO. It is a Tuesday and in Tamil, Mars planet is called Sevvai Graham and Tuesday is also called Sevvai. In Hindi, Mars is called Mangal and Tuesday is Mangalwar.
India's first inter-planetary mission was to the Moon Oct 22, 2008 at an outlay of around Rs.390 crore.