India’s maiden moon mission on track
updated 11-05-08



The 44-metre (145-foot) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C6)
will escort the Chandrayaan to space.
Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

PM congratulates scientists on successful Chandrayaan-1 launch

National,Sci-Tech, Wed, 22 Oct 2008 IANS

New Delhi, Oct 22, 2008  (IANS) "The successful launch of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India's first unmanned scientific moon, marks the first step in what we hope will be a historic milestone in India's space programme,' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday.

In a message to the scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation congratulating them on the successful launch, the prime minister said: 'I congratulate all the scientists associated with this mission for the successful completion of the first step.

When completed, the mission will put India in the very small group of six countries which have thus far sent space missions to the . Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them."

Sriharikota, Oct 22: 2008 Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden moon spacecraft, was today put into Transfer Orbit around the earth by the Polar Launch Vehicle PSLV-C11 about 19 minutes after it blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.

The 1,380 kg Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was released into a Tansfer Orbit at a perigee (nearest point to earth) of about 250 km and apogee (farthest point from the earth ) of about 23,000 km, 18.2 minutes after the PSLV-C11 blasted off as the scientists broke into jubiliation at the mission control centre.

After a series of procedures over the next two weeks, the spacecraft would reach its desired Lunar orbit and placed at a height of 100 km from the Lunar surface, marking the operational phase of the mission which would put India in the elite lunar club.

Earlier, at the end of the 49-hour countdown, the 44.4 meter tall four-stage PSLV-11 lifted off from the second launch pad into a cloudy sky.

This is the 14th flight of ISRO's workhorse PSLV, which had launched 29 satellites into a variety of orbits since 1993, and 13th successive one in a row.

Chandrayaan-1 is carrying 11 payloads, five entirely designed and developed in India, three from European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from US, which would explore the Moon over the next two years. - Agencies

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October 21st, 2008 -
10:39 pm ICT by IANS

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 21 (IANS) India was Tuesday set to launch its historic unmanned flight to the moon, the sixth to do so after the US, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency, China and Japan. The skies cleared Tuesday evening after a heavy downpour, cheering scientists counting down to the early Wednesday morning launch. As the fully-loaded 44-metre-tall 316-tonne rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C11) stood at the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, 80 km north of Chennai, a meteorogical officer at the spot told IANS: “Though rain is likely at the launch, there is no cyclone threat forecast”.

As the PSLV holds aloft the 1,380-kg lunar orbiter Chandrayaan, waiting for the ignition command at 6.20 a.m. Wednesday, the top brass of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) decided that “two or three hours before liftoff, met experts will analyse the weather data once again to ascertain possibility of lightning striking the rocket or the spacecraft”, the official added.

Still very much within the earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft was sitting protected by the rocket’s 3.2-metre bulbous heat shield Tuesday evening as the weather office in Chennai also told IANS that the chances of a cyclone affecting the launch were slim.

“The low pressure trough is in southern Tamil Nadu, south of Pudukotai,” the Chennai weather bureau said. “It is unlikely to move north in time to affect the Chandrayaan launch.”

A confident S. Satish, director, Publications & Press Relations of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS: “Eighteen minutes into the flight the rocket will sling the spacecraft into the 255-km perigee (nearest point to earth) and 23,000 km apogee (farthest point from earth) path to script a new history in the annals of India’s space odyssey,”

From there the spacecraft will be taken into more elliptical orbits, firing its onboard motor - technically called Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) - towards the moon, 387,000 km from the earth.

Once the spacecraft nears the moon, the LAM will be fired in reverse to slow it down to enable the moon’s gravity to capture Chandrayaan into an elliptical orbit around the lunar poles.

Thereafter the spacecraft’s orbit will be gradually lowered till it is 100 km above the moon’s surface. That is expected to happen around Nov 8.

On Nov 14 the spacecraft will eject an important piece of luggage on to the moon’s surface - the Moon Impact Probe (MIP).

The spacecraft cameras and other instruments that would do the intended tests for the next two years will be activated after that.

The 11 experimental instruments carried by the spacecraft are from different sources - five Indian, two from the US, three from the European Space Agency and one from Bulgaria - and each has a different purpose.

“Designing the spacecraft that would fit these pre-built instruments was a challenge which was overcome with Indian ingenuity,” Mylswamy Annadurai, project director, Chandrayaan, told IANS.

Indian space scientists may not face such problems in Chandrayaan-2 as they can stipulate the payload specifications.

The Indian government has sanctioned Rs.4.25 billion for the second moon mission that is expected to happen sometime in 2011.

That mission will have the Russian Federal Space Agency as a partner which will provide the moon rover.

Looking forward India may plan missions to Mars, Venus, Mercury and also an asteroid or comet flyby mission.

NASA joins India's Moon mission

Two U.S. instruments map minerals and search for ice deposits on the lunar surface as part of India's first unmanned mission to the Moon.

Laura Layton

May 15, 2006

India's inaugural mission to the Moon is scheduled to launch in early 2008. When India launches its unmanned Chandrayaan-1 mission, two NASA instruments will be aboard: the Moon Mineralogy Mapper and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar. The Chandrayaan-1 mission also marks NASA's first partnership with India.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair agreed to conduct research together and signed two Memoranda of Understanding in Bangalore, India, May 9. "It is my hope and belief that as we extend the reach of human civilization throughout the solar system, the United States and India will be partners on many more technically challenging and scientifically rewarding projects," said Griffin at a ceremony held in Bangalore after the signing.

NASA to work with India
Indian Space Research Organization
Chairman G. Madhavan Nair and NASA
Administrator Mike Griffin exhange
documents after signing the agreement.
Indian Space Research Organization.


NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is an imaging spectrometer. Scientists will use M3 to map the composition of mineral resources on the lunar surface. M3 will evaluate the primary components of the lunar crust and investigate how they are distributed across the lunar highlands — light-colored mountainous areas. The instrument will also attempt to characterize the different types of basaltic volcanism that comprise the lunar maria — dark low-lying areas — as well as determine how many small recent impacts there are on the Moon.

M3's orbit will cross the Moon's poles at a height of 62 miles (100 kilometers). The instrument's 25-mile (40 km) field of view will provide two types of high-resolution images: global images with about 459-foot (140 meters) resolution and targeted images with about 230-foot (70m) resolution.

The Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (miniSAR) is the second instrument NASA will supply for India's Moon mission. MiniSAR will search for ice deposits near the lunar poles. MiniSAR weighs less than 30 pounds (14 kilograms).

The European Space Agency (ESA) will support three Chandrayaan-1 mission instruments — an X-ray spectrometer, the SARA atom reflecting analyzer, and the SIR-2 near-infrared spectrometer — that are identical counterparts to its SMART-1 mission. ESA will also provide hardware support for the High-Energy X-ray (HEX) spectrometer.

The U.S. won't return to the Moon until 2018, so collaborating with India on its 2008 Chandrayaan-1 mission will provide an opportunity to continue research on our nearest neighbor.


All about India's moon mission

October 17, 2008

India's first Moon mission, Chandrayaan is all set to add a golden chapter to India's space endeavour when it takes off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on October 22.

Here's all that you wanted to know about India's first Moon mission

  • What is Chandrayaan-1?

    Chandrayaan-1 is a scientific investigation -- by spacecraft -- of the Moon. The name Chandrayaan means Chandra (Moon), Yaan (vehicle). Chandrayaan-1 is the first Indian planetary science and exploration mission.


  • When, and from where, Chandrayaan-1 will be launched?

    Chandrayaan-1 will be launched on October 22, 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota (SHAR).


  • How long will it take Chandrayaan-1 to get to Moon?

    It will take about 5 days for Chandrayaan-1 to get to the Moon.


  • How close to Moon will Chandrayaan-1 come while orbiting the Moon?

    Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will be in a 100 km polar orbit around the Moon.


  • What are Chandrayaan' s scientific goals?

    The Chandrayaan-1 mission is aimed at high-resolution remote sensing of the Lunar surface in visible, near Infrared, low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions.

    Specific scientific goals are:

    • To prepare a three-dimensional atlas (with a high spatial and altitude resolution of 5-10m) of both near and far side of the moon.
    • To conduct chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface for distribution of elements such as Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Calcium, Iron and Titanium with a spatial resolution of about 20 km and high atomic number elements such as Radon, Uranium & Thorium with a spatial resolution of about 40 km.

    By simultaneous photo geological and chemical mapping we will be able to identify different geological units, which will test the hypothesis for the origin and early evolutionary history of the moon and help in determining the nature of the lunar crust.

    Also read: Coverage: India's Moon Mission

  • What are the scientific instruments onboard Chandrayaan-1?
    There are altogether eleven scientific instruments onboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Five of them are Indian and other six are from European Space Agency (3), NASA (2) and Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1) selected through ISRO Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Two of the ESA instruments have Indian collaboration.

  • What type of propulsion system will Chandrayaan-1 use? How much propellant will it carry?

    Chandrayaan-1 will use bipropellant integrated propulsion system. The propulsion system consists of a unified bi-propellant system for orbit raising and attitude control.

    It consists of one 440N engine and eight numbers of 22N thrusters, mounted on the negative roll face of the spacecraft. Two tanks each with a capacity of 390 liter are used for storing fuel and oxidizer.

  • How will mission controllers communicate with the spacecraft?

    If the spacecraft encounters a problem, it can establish contact with controllers on Earth through the Deep Space Network.


  • Can the team fix the spacecraft from Earth?

    If a component on the spacecraft fails, controllers on Earth can instruct Chandrayaan to bring a backup online. If the spacecraft points in the wrong direction, its attitude can be corrected. If the spacecraft deviates from the desired trajectory, a controlled burn (thruster firing) can be performed to put it back on track.

    Most minor problems can be corrected from Earth with existing onboard instruction systems.


  • How is the spacecraft powered?

    The spacecraft is mainly powered by its solar array, which includes one solar panel covering a total area of 2.15 X 1.8 square meters, generating 700W power. The panels are made of materials rated to withstand extreme temperatures -- 119 degree C to minus 165 degree C.

    The power produced by the solar array is stored in a Lithium-ion battery, and then distributed from the battery to the spacecraft subsystems. The power system is designed to support various phases of the mission. The power will supplement the mission with equal efficiency in both noon/midnight and dawn/dusk orbits.

    The power system consists of power generation, energy storage and power conditioning elements. 36AH Li-Ion battery powers the spacecraft during orbital and lunar eclipses. Power electronics system controls the solar array power to supply the load and charge the batteries.


  • What is the total budget for realising Chandrayaan-1 mission?

    The budgetary estimate for realising the proposed Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 stands at Rs. 386 crore (about $76 million). This includes Rs 53 crore (about $11 million) for Payload development, Rs. 83 crore (about $17 million) for Spacecraft Bus, Rs 100 crore ($20 million) towards establishment of Deep Space Network, Rs 100 crore ($20 million) for PSLV launch vehicle and Rs 50 crore ($10 million) for scientific data centre, external network support and programme management expenses.

  • What other missions are scheduled to study Moon?

    The first leap in Lunar observation was made by Galileo Galilei who used his new invention the telescope to observe mountains and craters on the lunar surface.

    The first man-made object to reach the Moon was the unmanned Soviet probe Luna 2 in September 1959. Luna 9 was the first probe to soft land on the Moon in February 1966 and transmit pictures from the Lunar surface.

    The first robotic lunar rover to land on the Moon was the Soviet Lunokhod 1 in November 1970.

    Humans first landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969. The first man to walk on the lunar surface was Neil Armstrong, commander of the American mission Apollo 11. The last man to walk on the Moon was in December 1972 by Eugene Cernan during Apollo 17 mission.

    Moon samples have been brought back to Earth by three Russian Luna missions (16, 20, and 24) and the US Apollo missions 11, 12 and 14 through 17.

    The European Space Agency has launched European spacecraft Smart1 on September 27 2003 to explore the Moon, survey the lunar environment and create an X-ray map of the Moon.

    Japan has two planned lunar missions, LUNAR-A and Selene.

    India plans to launch a lunar orbiter for simultaneous chemical and mineralogical study of the lunar surface. The People's Republic of China has also expressed ambitious plans for exploring the Moon (Change series).

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of USA is designed to map the surface of the Moon and characterize future landing sites in terms of terrain roughness, usable resources, and radiation environment with the ultimate goal of facilitating the return of humans to the Moon.


    Indian ‘Tricolor’ Reaches Moon With Mapping Probe (Update1)

    By Demian McLean

    Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- India planted a flag of sorts on the moon today as a probe painted in the national colors of green, white and orange slammed into the lunar landscape, marking a milestone in the country’s space program.

    The foil-wrapped Moon Impact Probe photographed the rocky surface and sampled the thin atmosphere during a half-hour freefall, the Indian Space Research Organization said. The device dropped from the larger, unmanned Chandrayaan-1 orbiter, circling some 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the moon.

    “The space program achieved a unique feat today with the placing of the Indian tricolor on the moon’s surface on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday,” the agency said, referring to the country’s first prime minister, who died in 1964.

    Almost 40 years after American Neil Armstrong became the first person on the moon, a growing list of nations plans manned or robotic visits over the next two decades, including the U.S. and China. India’s $78.9 million mission to map the lunar terrain is a step toward landing an unmanned rover by 2012.

    Chandrayaan, which means “moon craft,” is expected to scan the surface from orbit for two years. It’s India’s first unmanned lunar probe, and was launched Oct. 22.

    The smaller probe, which weighed 75 pounds (34 kilograms), was probably destroyed by today’s “hard landing,” the Indian agency said. Data beamed back may help engineers plan controlled landings for future missions.

    Chandrayaan is also carrying mapping instruments for the European Space Agency, radiation-measuring equipment for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and two devices for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    One of the NASA devices will look for ice deposits on the lunar poles, and the other will assess the moon’s mineral composition.

    India launched its first rocket in 1963 and its first satellite in 1975.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Demian McLean in Washington at

    Last Updated: November 14, 2008 15:42 EST