“The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the Earth orbit. With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission, and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit,”- G Madhavan Nair Chairman, ISRO
Chandrayaan-I, is India’s first mission to the Moon, launched by India’s national space agency the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The unmanned lunar exploration mission including a lunar orbiter and an impactor, was launched on 22nd October, 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 06:23 1ST. The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8th November, 2008. Chardrayaan-1 is the first Indian Mission to the Moon devoted to high-resolution remote sensing of the lunar surface features in visible, near infrared, X-ray and low energy gamma ray regions.
The Moon Impact Probe was successfully impacted at the lunar South Pole at 20:31 hours on 14th November, 2008. The estimated cost for the project is Rs.386 crore. The remote sensing satellite had a mass of 1380 kilograms (3042 lb) at launch and 675 kilograms (1488 lb) at lunar orbit and carries high resolution remote sensing equipment for visible, near infrared, and soft and hard X-ray frequencies. Over a two-year period, it is intended to survey the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and 3-dimensional topography. The Polar Regions are of special interest, as they might contain ice. The lunar mission carries five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other international space agencies including NASA, ESA, and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, which were carried free of cost. The mission is expected to have an operational life of about 2 years.
Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G Madhavan Nair described the successful launch as a historic moment in India’s space programme. “The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the Earth orbit. With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission, and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit,” Nair announced in the mission control centre shortly after PSLV-C11 put the spacecraft in a transfer orbit.
The successful launch of the India’s maiden mission to Moon Chandrayan-I is “just the beginning” of the opening up of a new frontier of co-operation between the US and India on a wide range of sectors, the United States India Business Council (USIBC) said on Wednesday.
“It is an extraordinary moment in history. We have an India of 1.3 billion people looking to the heavens and now exploring the frontiers of Space,” USIBC president Ron Somers told PTI upon the launch of Chandrayaan-I.
The liftoff of Chandrayaan-I was lustily cheered at the US Chamber of Commerce, where the USIBC had organized a live broadcast of the historic occasion that saw the participation of officials from the White House, the State Department, the NASA and senior officials of the Indian Embassy.
The USIBC event also saw the participation of the Indian American community who were clearly thrilled. “It is a great day in our history. I think it will beckon a whole new era in technological co-operation between our countries,” Somers said.
Chandrayaan-I aims at achieving expansion of scientific knowledge about Moon, up gradation of Indian technological capability and providing challenging opportunities for planetary research to young scientists.
The objectives would be achieved through high-resolution remote sensing of Moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and x-ray region of electromagnetic spectrum.
The eleven payloads, five designed and developed in India, three from European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from NASA, would expand various scientific knowledge about the Moon.
The Indian payloads included Terrain Mapping Camera, Hyper spectral Imager, Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument, High Energy X-ray Spectrometer and Moon Impact Probe. Chandrayaan-I was built at ISRO’s Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, with contribution from various wings of the space agency, including the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. The ground facilities of Chandrayaan-I would perform the highly important task of receiving the microwave containing the health information of the spacecraft as well as the valuable scientific information, which the spacecraft sends. It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during all the phases of its mission.
After two weeks of journey, India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-I entered the lunar orbit on Saturday (8th November, 2008) evening. It started at 16:50 hrs 1ST and within 14 minutes, it entered the lunar orbit. It is now 504 km from Moon. ISRO says that the most critical operation is successful. With this development, India’s Moon Mission has been declared successful.
On 14th November, 2008, the Indian Space Programme achieved a unique feat with the placing of the Indian tricolor on the Moon’s surface. The Indian flag was painted on the sides of MIP, one of 11 payloads of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft that successfully hit the lunar surface at 20.31 hrs. This is the first Indian built object to reach the surface of the Moon. “I am extremely happy that the nation has responded very positively to this event (MIP landing and Chandrayaan-I)”, Nair, also the Secretary in the Department of Space, said. Nair said Chandrayaan-I was a coup of sorts in the branding stakes and ISRO’s brand has skyrocketed with India’s first unmanned Moon mission. “ISRO’s name has been high all the time. This is another significant event. I am sure in the global community, we will have much more respect than what was (there) in the past”, he said
“111 Fate of Chandrayaan Mission even, it can be treated as successful mission.”
ISRO had reported on 25th November, 2008, that Chandrayaan-I’s temperature had risen above normal to 50°C, scientists said that it was caused by higher than normal temperatures in lunar orbit. The temperature was brought down by about 10°C by rotating the spacecraft about 20 degrees and switching off some of the instruments. As per report of 19th May, 2009, Chandrayaan-I orbit rose to 200 km due to malfunctions. The latest report says, ISRO lost radio contact with Chandrayaan-I. After tailing to re-establish contact for more than 24 hours, ISRO terminated the mission. Though this news is unexpected for all of us, Chandrayaan-I achieved 95% of its objectives.
Overall, during its ten months of existence, Chandrayaan-I completed 312 days in orbit and provided large amount of data. It was declared two years mission which was abruptly ended. Chandrayaan-I had completed more than 3400 revolutions around the Moon. It had dispatched over 70000 images of the Moon surface.
The mission abruptly ended, but all the data was downloaded from the spacecraft on a regular basis and no scientific data was lost. John Yembrick, public affair officer (space operations) NASA headquarters, said, “NASA has obtained an abundance of data during our operations. Work is on to analyze that information”.
The reason of termination of Chandrayaan-I is now known that this was because of a miscalculation of the Moon’s temperature that had led to faulty protection. In a major development relating to India’s Moon Mission, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most powerful space observatories in the world, has confirmed the discovery of water on the Moon by Chandrayaan-1.
The discovery was made by Chandra Altitudunal Composition Explorer (CHACE) on the night of 14th November, 2008. The CHACE was one of the three instruments on board Chandrayaan-1’s indigenous Moon Impact Probe.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave the nod to Chandrayaan- II, which is to be an Indo-Russian Mission with a projected launch in 2011-12. The Cabinet also approved upgrading the associated existing ground segment at a total cost of Rs.425 crore including a foreign exchange component of Rs.293.50 crore, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told to reporters. Scientists are planning to land a rover on the Moon for carrying out chemical analysis of the lunar surface and explore other resources there. An agreement for Chandrayaan-II was signed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Roskosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow in November last year. Let us see, what fate is in store for Chandrayaan-II when launched.