Sometime between October 19 and November 8, 2008, India is all set to take its first steps beyond the geo-stationary Orbit, when Chandrayaan-1 transits to the moon.
Latest: First Photos by Chandrayaan 1
Chandrayaan-1 launch successful, lunar orbit insertion next
Photo: Chandrayaan 1
After being cleared by the Government of India five years ago, and after repeated delays, Chandrayaan-1 is finally ready for launch on October 22, 2008. If the weather conditions are not favorable, the Chandrayaan-1 late October 2008 launch will be postponed to November or December 2008 when the orbital plane of the moon will again be aligned for a fuel efficient transfer.
Chandrayaan-1 was built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) along with partners such as HAL and carries 11 payloads, five from India and six from International agencies. This includes three from the European Space Agency (ESA) , one from the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency (BSA), and two from NASA.
Chandrayaan-1: Launch Details
Graphic: Chandrayaan 1 launch and onward
The Chandrayaan-1 mission includes an Orbiter and an Impactor. This means that the Orbiter of Chandrayaan-1 will enter a low orbit around the Moon; while the Impactor will be deliberately crashed onto the Moon. Chandrayaan-1’s impactor, aptly called the Moon Impact probe (MIP), was designed by ISRO, and contains three instruments: a high resolution mass spectrometer, an S-Band altimeter, and a video camera.
While it may seem to be reckless as well as a waste of resources, a impactor can provide a lot of useful information. On impacting the moon at over 7000 km/h, it will blow up a giant plume, which can even be observed from the earth, and analysed to find its composition.
Chandrayaan-1 will weigh 1304 kg at launch and 590kg in lunar orbit.
Chandrayaan-1 will be launched by a PSLV-XL, which is a modified, pumped-up version of the ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space...