India has successfully launched its first mission to the Moon.
The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off smoothly from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh to embark on a two-year mission of exploration.
The physical exploration of the Moon began when Luna 2, a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, impacted the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. In 1969, Project Apollo first successfully landed people (Neil Armstrong commander of the Apollo 11) on the Moon. They placed scientific experiments there and returned rocks and data that suggested the Moon is of a similar composition to the Earth.
Today, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-1, an unmanned lunar orbiter. The lunar probe will revolve around the Moon for 2 years taking high resolution images of the lunar surface and also mapping its chemical and mineralogical content. One of the primary objectives of the mission is to map the lunar surface for helium-3. It is believed that the Moon has vast quantities of the mineral which could be used to fuel future nuclear fusion reactors.
The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-1 / India moon mission are:
To place an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon
To conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the lunar surface
To upgrade the technological base in the country
More About Chandrayaan Mission and history
Chandrayaan means moon vehicle in sanskrit. However, it was earlier named Somayaana.
Chandrayaan-I is India’s first unmanned mission to moon.
It was first proposed by ISRO in 1999.
Government of India nod in 2003.
The 3,86,000 KM journey is expected to completed in 5 1/2 days.
Chandrayaan-I will spend two years circling moon and it will remain 100KM away from the moon surface.
It is launched using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ( PSLV). PSLV-C11 launched a 1304 kg remote sensing satellite (five satellite from ISRO and six from other space agencies [three from European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from NASA]) as part of the Chandrayaan lunar exploration mission. The launch was successful and the satellite was placed in the earth’s orbit and will reach the Moon in 5.5 days after reaching its lunar transfer orbit.
Over a 1000 space scientists and engineers working on the project.
Chandrayaan-1 was built at ISRO’s Satellite Centre, Bangalore, with contribution from various wings of the space agency, including the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
Total cost of the project: Rs 386 CR:
RS 53 CR for payload
RS 83 CR for spacecraft bus
Rs 100 CR for PSLV-C11
Rs 50 Cr for Scientific data center
Specific areas of study
High resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging of permanently shadowed north and south polar regions.
Search for surface or sub-surface water-ice on the moon, specially at lunar pole Identification of chemical end members of lunar high land rocks
Chemical stratigraphy of lunar crust by remote sensing of central upland of large lunar craters, South Pole Aitken Region (SPAR) etc., where interior material may be expected
To map the height variation of the lunar surface features along the satellite track
Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10 keV and stereographic coverage of most of the moon’s surface with 5 m resolution, to provide new insights in understanding the moon’s origin and evolution.
India has successfully launched a rocket carrying a cluster of 10 satellites into space.
India has successfully launched a rocket carrying a cluster of 10 satellites into space. This is considered as a rare feat for India’s space programme.
All 10 satellites were deployed in orbit within moments of each other and the entire operation lasted 20 minutes only.
From the official press release:
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C9, successfully launched the 690 kg Indian remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A, the 83 kg Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nanosatellites for international customers into a 637 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C9 in its ‘core alone’ configuration launched ten satellites with a total weight of about 820 kg.
According to PTI, Last year, Russia launched a rocket carrying 16 satellites – but with a smaller payload.
G Madhavan Nair, chairman (Isro) said:
It is a historic moment for us because it is the first time that we have launched 10 satellites in a single mission. The mission was perfect
In its twelve consecutively successful flights so far, PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) has repeatedly proved itself as a reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle. It has demonstrated multiple satellite launch capability having launched a total of sixteen satellites for international customers besides thirteen Indian payloads which are for remote sensing, amateur radio communications and Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1). The same vehicle will be used to launch Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, Indiaâ€™s first mission to Moon during this year.
India’s space programme is more than 45 years old and real aim is to enter into satellite-launching market and reduce its dependence on foreign space agencies.
India’s massive space vision is all set to unfold as Isro planning to undertake 70 space missions in next five years.
The Indian Space Research Organization develops technologies related to space and their application to India’s development. ISRO announced to undertake 70 space mission by 2012. This is three times more than the numbers of mission undertaken in the past five years. ISRO have proposed 70 mission in the 11th plan – April 1 2007 to March 31, 2012.
Also the 2008-09 annual budget has gone up to INR. 4072 crore – a 25% increase over the last financial year.
Finally on Thursday Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) latest satellite, Insat-4A put into orbit (Click to view Insat 4A image/picture) successfully. It was launched from Kourou, French Guiana. According to official ISRO statement:
It is India’s first communication satellite
It can provide upto 150 DTH channels via 12 Ku-band transponders
It will boost countries television capacity
It will cover India, Asia Pacific and the Gulf
INSAT-4A is launched into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 launch vehicle. The satellite is subsequently manoeuvred to 36,000 km high Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO) by firing the Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) on-board the satellite. In GSO, INSAT-4A will be co-located with INSAT-2E and INSAT-3B satellites at 83 deg East longitude. INSAT-4A is designed for a life of 12 years.