ISRO chief seeks divine blessings for MARS mission

Tirupati: Ahead of India's maiden mission to Mars, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan on Monday offered worship at the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara near here.

Radhakrishnan, accompanied by his wife Padmini, offered prayers early this morning for the successful launch of PSLV-C25 from Sriharikota tomorrow, temple sources told PTI.

An ardent devotee, Radhakrishnan visited the over 2000 year old shrine with the replicas of the PSLV-C25 to seek divine blessings. The replicas were placed for a while at the feet of the idol of Lord Venkateswara.

Ahead of every satellite launch, Radhakrishnan visits the hill shrine for the successful launch and makes another trip after its success, the sources said.

Meanwhile preparatory work in full swing at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota to launch the country's first inter-planetary satellite to Mars today.
"The countdown for the launch, which commenced yesterday has been progressing smoothly. Things are normal. We are busy with preparatory work," an ISRO spokesman told PTI over phone.
The Launch Authorisation Board of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had on November 1 given its consent for launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission after a successful launch rehearsal the previous day.
The 44.4 metre tall rocket has been mounted on the pedestal of the First Launch Pad at the spaceport,covered by a 76 metre tall Mobile Service Tower, designed to withstand a wind speed of 230 km per hour, in case of a cyclone. It will be removed as the countdown comes closer to the launch.
PSLV C 25 is scheduled to lift off at 2.38 PM on Tuesday from the spaceport, about 100 km from here.
Vehicle tracking stations at Port Blair, Bylalu near Bangalore and Brunei are on an alert mode, while sea-borne terminals on board Shipping Corporation of India's vessels SCI Nalanda and SCI Yamuna have taken their positions at South Pacific Ocean, ISRO sources said.
The sea-borne terminals on board SCI ships are to capture the crucial moment of the vehicle injecting the satellite on Earth's orbit somewhere above South America.
The rocket is expected to take over 40 minutes to inject the satellite on Earth's orbit after take off.
Once launched the satellite is expected to go around Earth for 20-25 days before embarking on a nine-month voyage to the red planet on December 1 and reach the orbit of Mars on September 24, 2014.
If the Rs 450 crore MOM mission turns out to be a success, ISRO would be the fourth space agency in the world to have sent a mission to Mars.
European Space Agency (ESA) of European consortium, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US and Roscosmos of Russia are the only three agencies which have so far sent their missions to the red planet.
Only 21 of the total of 51 missions sent to Mars by various countries have been successful.