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Antennas to track space missions.

BANGALORU: India has installed a pair of giant antennas to monitor a planned robotic mission to the moon next year, making it one of a few nations with deep space tracking ability, officials said.

The deep space network at Byalalu, 45 kilometres (30 miles) from Bangaloru, will keep track of the Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission which will be launched in April next year and provide command support during its two-year orbit around the moon, India's space agency said.

The facility consists of two powerful dish antennas 32 metres (105 feet) and 18 metres in diameter. "The network will be used to send commands and receive telemetry signals," said SK Shivakumar, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation's Telemetry Tracking and Command Network.

By installing the network at a cost of one billion rupees (BD 9.45 million), India joins the US, Europe, Japan, China and Russia to track deep space missions, officials said.

The spacecraft will conduct a lunar orbit at a distance of 385,000 kilometres from Earth. The first robotic mission next year will be followed by another in 2012.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
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