M. Annadurai, project head of India’s first unmanned mission said India will launch a locally built rocket for the country’s first unmanned mission to the moon on October 22. If there is any further delay of the launch, it will be because of the weather; otherwise, there are no technical difficulties, added Annadurai.
Originally, the launch was scheduled for April but delayed due to technical difficulties it has been given a window between October 20 and October 28 for takeoff from a southern India town.
It aims to map a three-dimensional atlas of the moon through high-resolution remote sensing and map the surface’s chemical and mineral composition.
As to future plans, India plans to send an astronaut into space by 2014 and a manned mission to moon by 2020. As part of preparations for that, it launched four satellites on a single rocket for the first time in January 2007, including one that was brought back to earth.
At least 16 Indian satellites currently orbit the earth, supporting telecommunications, TV broadcasting, earth observation, weather forecasting, remote education and healthcare.
India’s constellation of seven earth-observation satellites is the largest of its kind in the world, but its space program lags behind its Asian rival China, which in 2003 became only the third nation after the United States and the former Soviet Union to launch a man into space aboard its own rocket.
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