“The 1,340kg 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.
On Saturday, ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan said 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 Fiji on October 21st. From there, both the ships have to travel to their respective locations to track the rocket, ISRO officials said.
The ships have terminals to track the rocket, which has a coasting period of approximately 20 minutes beyond the ragne of existing ground stations. The Malgalyaan mission was originally slated for October 28th from ISRO’s rocket launch center in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. According to ISRO officials, there is no problem as far as the mission is concerned.
Radhakrishnan said as the launch window is between October 28 and November 19th—he revised launch date will be decided after the ship reaches Fiji. India’s first inter-planetary mission was to the Moon on October 22, 2008, at a cost of Rs.390 crore.