Chennai: The 20-hour countdown for the July 15 morning lift-off of India’s heavy rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft began at 6:51 am on Sunday. The rocket has been nicknamed the “Bahubali”.
“The countdown started at 6.51 am,” K Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS.
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 170×40400 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.
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.