India's First Mission to Moon: Chandrayaan-1

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News: India's first mission to moon on 22nd Oct'08

Chandrayaan-1:   Mission Definition and Goal

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. This will be accomplished using several payloads already selected for the mission. In addition a total of about 10 kg payload weight and 10 W power are earmarked for proposals, which are now solicited. The moon mission is expected to have an operational life of about 2 years.

Chandrayaan-1 moon mission has 11 scientific payloads — five from India and six from abroad. The payloads from abroad includes those from NASA, the European Space Agency and Bulgaria. The payloads will map the chemicals and minerals on the moon, and also prepare a 3-diemensional map of the entire lunar surface. The mission will also give clues on the early origin of the moon.

Chandrayaan Launching on 22nd Oct'08:

ISRO will be creating history at 6.20 am, October 22 when it launches its first unmanned moon mission, the Chandrayaan-1. A unit of the MeT department has been set up in Sriharikota to monitor the weather situation closely and give regular updates to ISRO. The Chandrayan is scheduled to be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space in Shriharikota on 22nd oct'08, but the weather forecast predicts some rains in Sriharikota where the launch is scheduled. However, the rains are not much of a concern for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) officials as they had maintained that only cyclonic activity or heavy lightning can put the launch on hold. ISRO says that the spacecraft is completely rainproof and hence rains will not hamper operations. With barely seven hours remaining for the historic event, scientists and all involved in the project are working without a break to ensure that Wednesday becomes a memorable day in the history of India.

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, to be launched by the Polar Satellite Vehicle (PSLV-C11) on October 22 at 6.20 a.m. from the Sriharikota space port, will reach the lunar orbit on November 8.

Mission Objectives

  • Carry out high resolution mapping of topographic features in 3D, distribution of various minerals and elemental chemical species including radioactive nuclides covering the entire lunar surface using a set of remote sensing payloads. The new set of data would help in unravelling mysteries about the origin and evolution of solar system in general and that of the moon in particular.   

  • Realize the mission goal of harnessing the science payloads, lunar craft and the launch vehicle with suitable ground support system including DSN station, integration and testing, launching and achieving lunar orbit of ~100 km, in-orbit operation of experiments, communication/telecommand, telemetry data reception, quick look data and archival for scientific utilization by identified group of scientists.

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

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