Countdown begins for Chandrayaan-2 lift-off
Sunday - July 14, 2019 8:26 am , Category : SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Chennai, July 14 (IANS) The 20-hour countdown for the July 15 early morning lift-off of India's heavy rocket nicknamed the 'Bahubali' carrying the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft began at 6.51 a.m. on Sunday, a top official of the Indian space agency said."The countdown started at 6.51 a.m.," K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS.The 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) standing at about 44 metre tall, is nicknamed the 'Bahubali', as like the hero in the successful film lifts a heavy Lingam, the rocket will carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.About 16-minutes into its flight, the Rs 375 crore GSLV-Mk III rocket is expected to sling the Rs 603 crore Chandrayaan-2 into an Earth parking 170x40400 km orbit.From there, it will be a long journey for the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft carrying lander-Vikram and rover-Pragyaan will travel further to the moon.The distance between earth and the moon is about 3.844 lakh km.On September 6, the Lander Vikram is expected to make a soft landing on the moon and then Pragyaan will roll out to carry out in-situ experiments.During the countdown, the rocket and spacecraft's systems will undergo checks and fuel will be filled to power the rocket engines.To date, ISRO has sent up three GSLV-Mk III rockets. The first one was on 18.12.2014 carrying Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment. The second and third GSLV-Mk III went up on 5.2.2017 and 14.11.2018 carrying communication satellites GSAT-19 and GSAT-29 respectively.Interestingly, GSLV-Mk III will be used for India's manned space mission slated in 2022.