The launch of the Chandrayaan I lunar orbiter by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was originally planned for September 19 but scientists took more time to carry out final testing of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with the orbiter on board.
"The orbiter has been delivered to the Sriharikota main launch center of ISRO. The launch date is tentatively set for October 22," ISRO spokesperson S. Satish said.
The Chandrayaan remote sensing satellite weighs about 1.3 tons and carries high resolution remote sensing equipment for visible, near infrared, soft and hard X-ray frequencies.
The spacecraft carries five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other international space agencies such as NASA and ESA, and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency.
Over a two-year period, it is planned that a survey of the lunar surface will be conducted to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography. The polar regions are of special interest, as they might contain water ice.
The satellite will release its Moon Impact Probe once it enters lunar orbit to give scientists a closer look at a specific region of the surface.
The ISRO plans to launch a second lunar mission - Chandrayaan-2 - in 2011. Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, is teaming up with ISRO in the development of Chandrayaan-2's lander and associated rover.
Chandrayaan-2 will comprise an orbiting spacecraft and a landing platform with the moon rover.