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Oct 21, 2008 at 06:39pm IST

Countdown on: Chandrayaan team waits patient

Sriharikota: The countdown to the Chandrayaan blast off is on and Mayilsamy Annadurai, the proud Project Director of the unmanned Indian mission to the moon, is waiting with bated breath.

Chandrayaan, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), will blast off into the space, with the moon as its destination. Mayilsamy Annadurai leads a team of nearly 3,000 scientists and engineers from across the world.

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“We feel pleasure working and it is almost like the birth of a baby in the family. We are all excited and have worked hard,” said Annadurai.

Annadurai's family has watched him work tirelessly for years. His wife files away every mention of his achievements, while son Gokul is an engineering student and plans to follow in his dad's footsteps. Gokul says that his father is a role model for everyone at home.

“I am truly proud because many say that my father's age is pretty young to lead a mission of that standard, so I'm obviously proud to be son of such a person,” said Gokul as if stating the obvious.

P Sreekumar is chief scientist of the instruments that will be used in Chandrayaan's experiments. An IIT graduate with a doctorate from the US, Sreekumar is glad he returned to India to join the Chandrayaan mission.

“It was not a difficult decision. I always wanted to come back to India. I think ISRO provides a nice environment, provides opportunities.

T K Alex heads ISRO's satellite centre and he says he has his hands full with people who refuse to stop working.

“In especially our satellite center most of them are workaholic, they enjoy the work. In the evening they won’t go home, many of them stay back,” said T K Alex.

In many ways, Chandrayaan is all about telling the world that we've arrived. We can do it. But as much as it's about the technology and the scientific challenge, it is also about the men and women behind the mission.