Chandrayaan-I on the mission
With an unparalleled mission to moon, India’s maiden spacecraft Chandrayaan-l successfully launched at 6:22 am on Wednesday from the Satish Dhawan Space centre at Sriharikota on Andhra coast by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C11.
The 44.4 metre tall, 1,308 kg remote sensing Chandrayaan-1 carrying 11 payloads (five from ISRO and six from international space agencies) was put into the transfer orbit around the earth about 19 minutes later after it blasted off from the space centre.
Almost 18 minutes later, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair sent over 1000 space scientists into euphoria saying the mission was successful.
Nair said, we have completed first leg of the mission and after entering into lunar transfer orbit, the spacecraft will take 15 days to reach the Moon. The estimated cost on the project is Rs. 3.86 billion (USD 83 million).
Two weeks later, the spacecraft would reach its destined Lunar orbit and placed at a height of 100 km from the Lunar surface marking the operational phase of the mission and explore the moon over the next two years.
Chandrayaan-I is carrying an Indian flag, which will be placed on the surface of the moon as soon as the Moon Impact Probe lands on the moon. In the second week of November, the Chandrayaan-I will reach the moon and would eject then the Moon Impact Probe over the moon surface.
Moon Impact Probe (MIP) is a small indigenously developed satellite carrying by Chandrayaan-I. It carries three more instruments- a high-resolution mass spectrometer, and S-Band altimeter and a video camera along with and Indian flag.
India will be the fourth nation to place a flag on the Moon after Russia, United States and Japan and has become the sixth nation joining the elite group of Russia, US, Japan, European Space Agency and China to send successful launch mission to the Moon.
Chandrayaan-I aims to conduct scientific studies through high-resolution remote sensing of moon in the visible, near infrared, soft and hard x-ray regions of electromagnetic spectrum.
Over a two-year period, it is intended to survey the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography. The new set of data would help in unearthed mysteries about the origin and evolution of the solar system in general and that of the Moon in particular, including its composition and mineralogy.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is on the official tour of Japan and China, illustrating the successful launch of Chandrayaan-I as a “historic moment” for India said, it marked the first step in India’s space programme.
“When completed, the mission will put India in the very small group of six countries which have thus far sent space missions to the moon. Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them,” said Dr. Singh.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to go ahead and send second moon mission Chandrayaan-II in 2011. In the mission, Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) is joining with ISRO for development of Chandrayaan-II Lander-Rover.
Armed with the spacecraft and a landing platform Chandrayaan-II’s moon rover will pick up samples of soil or rocks, so a chemical analysis and send the data to the spacecraft orbiting above.
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