India's "ambitious" unmanned lunar mission `Chandrayan' is likely to soar into the skies in October second week, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair said."The satellite integration is almost complete. And we would be entering the thermovac soon. It takes about 45-50 days for the launch after thermovac, after which we would declare the date," he told reporters here.

"The earliest is October," he said. As for the climatic conditions, October was favorable, and ISRO has to look at the appropriate alignment between planets also before deciding on the launch window, he said."We do not have the flexibility of launching the mission on any date," he added. "The payloads have been integrated at the satellite centre in Bangalore...You can see the full spacecraft there," Nair said about the Rs 3.8 billion unmanned mission.

He also said that India had signed MoU with Russia for the Chandrayan 2 project, which will have an Orbiter that would go around the moon and a Lander or Rover which would collect samples from moon's surface after landing on it."We hope to achieve this mission by 2011-12," he said.On India's manned mission to the moon, he said ISRO would set into motion building of a capsule for this purpose, the project report for which was awaiting Government approval."It is going with good speed. Soon the process will be completed," he said.

On opening up the Indian space industry for private players, the chairman said "we are open, our policy allows that. But not many players are prepared to invest such a large sum in space." About the demand for ISRO's KU transponders for Direct-to-Home (DTH) services, Nair said all of them had been sold out, with new requests pending with the ISRO."Two satellites will be carrying more KU transponders soon," he said.