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Spacecraft

Ships, planes warned of possible Indian rocket launch

SHIPS AND PLANES were warned yesterday to stay away from the Phang Nga coast on Tuesday of next week as India will launch a rocket that might jettison a fuel tank into the area.

"India's space centre told us that the launch would possibly be on November 5, because the weather on that day is expected to be suitable for the mission," said Anond Snidvongs, executive director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda).

The Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, near Chennai, alerted Gistda that its Mars orbiter spacecraft would tentatively lift off between October 21 and November 20. The C25 Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle would release five huge fuel cylinders after they were spent and all of them would fall into the ocean.

"Our calculations indicate that the fifth tank could possibly land in the Andaman Sea, about 360 kilometres off Phang Nga province. However it would burn up and its size would be much smaller," he added.

The risk that it would hit land is very minor, he added.

Aviation and maritime regulatory agencies are usually informed of space missions, so he was not worried about international aircraft and vessels.

"What concerns me is that Thai craft could possibly wander into the area during the period," he said.

"Gistda wishes to provide the public with facts and information about the launch to prevent any possible misunderstanding and misinformation that could lead to panic," he said.

If successful, the mission will make India the fourth space power to have explored the Red Planet after Russia, the United States and Europe.


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