ISRO’S SCREEN PRESENCEIt was truly a historic moment for the entire country. The PSLV-C11, which carries India’s first unmanned moon spacecraft Chandrayaan-1, was successfully put into initial orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Wednesday morning at around 6.40 am.At the end of the 49-hour countdown, the 44.4 meter tall four-stage PSLV-C11 blasted off from the second launch pad with the ignition of the core first stage at 6.22 am.

ISROIndia’s first unmanned moon mission, Chandrayan-1 is a success and history has been written on October 22. Amidst joy and pride, the Indian Space Research Organisation is already looking forward to the year 2015 when it plans on having India’s first manned space flight. ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair, who was beaming with pride, told a crowded press conference three hours after the launch of Chandrayan-1 that they were planning on sending two humans into space (low earth orbit). At present, they are devising a capsule to ensure that this project is a success.This is a bit challenging, Nair said, adding that ISRO had already prepared a project report and hoped that this mission became a reality by 2015. The ISRO chairman further added a new facility will be set up to undertake the manned mission. Apart from a training centre in Bangalore, a new launch pad in Shriharikota will also be set up, he added. The space agency will use the GSLV to undertake the manned space flight, Nair said, adding that the rocket required design modification and that the tolerable failure rate should be 1 out of 100.He said the natural next destination would be to mars and added that the GSLV was capable of carrying a spacecraft to Mars. ISRO is expected to undertake the mission to Mars by 2012. Chandrayan, which is being launched at a total cost of Rs 386 crore, is also scheduled to carry 11 payloads, which would include those from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sweden, Japan, Germany and Bulgaria. Dr Alex further pointed out that the technology used for the Chandrayan mission is ten times better than other countries. Moreover, ISRO excels in remote sensing and imaging and hence the moon can be photographed from a close range of five metres from the ground

Chandrayaan-I, India’s first unmanned moon mission satellite vehicle, successfully blasted off at 6.22 am on October 22, 2008, from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, some 80 km from Chennai,catapulting the country into the select club that have sent missions to the moon, after the US, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency, China and Japan. Blazing a bright orange plume, the 44-metre-tall 316-tonne PSLV started to move into its designated orbit within minutes, to launch Chandrayaan into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).From the GTO the satellite’s onboard liquid apogee motor (LAM) will be fired to take it to the lunar orbit – 387,000 km from earth – around November 8.Chandrayaan is world’s 68th moon mission Once the 1,380-kg Chandrayaan gets near the moon its speed will be reduced to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit.At the earliest possible opportunity Chandrayaan will drop its Moon Impact Probe (MIP) which will land on the moon’s soil carrying India’s flag, among many scientific instruments. After that, the spacecraft will also activate its cameras and other instruments on board.Chandrayaan will orbit the moon for two years. It carries 11 experimental payloads, five Indian and six from the European Space Agency (3), the US (2) and Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1).The project is expected to prepare a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and prospect its surface for natural resources, including uranium, a coveted fuel for nuclear power plants, according to the Indian Space Research Organization. India’s first unmanned flight to the moon blasted off from Sriharikota, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, early morning on 22 Oct ’08(Wednesday). The launch was perfect and the space vehicle is now in the orbit, cruising around earth…

Indian Space Research Organization scientists viewed on a television screen are seen congratulating each other after the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan (“moon vehicle”) plans to map a three-dimensional atlas of the moon, and the surface’s chemical and mineral composition. * The rocket carries 11 payloads — five from India, two from the USA, and one each from Germany, Britain, Sweden and BulgariaChandrayaan-1, India’s maiden lunar mission is seen soon after the launch, rocketing the satellite up into the pale dawn sky.

## Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, second left, and his colleagues hold a model of India’s maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1

* In 1959, the sphere-shaped Soviet spacecraft Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to orbit the moon. * India started its space programme in 1963, developing its own satellites and launch vehicles to reduce dependence on overseas agencies. India’s constellation of seven earth-observation satellites is the largest in the world.
## At least 16 Indian satellites currently orbit the earth, supporting telecommunications, TV broadcasting, earth observation, weather forecasting, remote education and healthcare.About 1,000 scientists have worked on the project for four years.

The 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.In his message soon after the launch, Madhavan Nair said this was a historic moment for India.

“The first leg has gone perfectly and today we have started a remarkable journey to the moon. We have fought all odds which include heavy rains and thunderstorms since the past four days to ensure that this mission is a success. We will complete the journey in the next 15 days.”The other men behind the mission, who were obviously elated by the success of the launch, too spoke after the successful launch. They said phase-1 had been completed successfully and for phase-2, the next team would take over.We have spent sleepless nights and today our baby is on the way to the moon. Fifteen days from now, we will reach our destination and for the next two years the Chandrayaan will do its job in exploring the mysteries of the moon. We are ready for many more challenges and we must say that this has been a thrilling experience,” he said.

The 1380-kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will first reach a highly elliptical Initial orbit and thereafter the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) will be fired at appropriate moments that will finally take it to an orbit at a height of 100 km around the moon around November eight.Chandrayaan-1 carries 11 payloads (scientific instruments) — five from India, three from ESA, two from the US and one from Bulgaria. It aims to undertake remote-sensing of the moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, preparation of a three-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface is envisaged.”The mission will lead to detailed understanding of the mineralogy of the moon, and (possibility of) abundance of Helium-3 said to be a relatively clean fuel for future nuclear fusion reactors,” an ISRO official said.

It will also throw more light on what appears to be the presence of water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the moon’s polar areas”.

The mission aims to cover the entire moon and gather as much information as possible. Currently, Chandrayan is going through crucial tests in Bengaluru. It still has to undergo the vibration and acoustic tests. The spacecraft will be subject to heavy vibration first and then the sound of four jet planes will be put together to check its endurance.

However, Chandrayan will not land on the moon due to technical difficulties. The spacecraft would hover around the moon, said the ISRO team working on the moon mission. Chandrayan could provide important leads on the possibility of human habitation on the moon, said Dr Anna Durai. ISRO recently established a 32-meter diameter antenna at Byalalu near Bengaluru to provide tracking and command support for Chandrayaan-I. The antenna and associated systems are the first steps in building the Indian Deep Space Network, which is vital for facilitating a two-way radio communication link between the spacecraft and the earth.

Chandrayan, India’s historic moon mission, will be launched between October 22 and October 26. Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satellite Centre Dr T K Alex and Project Director of the Chandrayan-I mission Dr Anna Durai informed media persons at Bengaluru on Thursday that the exact date for the launch has not been fixed, but the window period is between October 22 and 26

Dr Alex added that the main objective of this mission was to understand the origin of the moon. Apart from conducting tests on the surface of the moon, the mission also intends to conduct tests on the poles of the moon. Scientists are planning to land a rover on the moon to carry out chemical analysis of the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft undergoing pre-launch tests
Fully integrated Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft (left) and loading it to Thermovac Chamber (right)
Moon Impact Probe integration with Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft

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