Chandrayaan I - India's First Moon Mission

India's first moon mission Chandrayaan-I was successful a couple of hours ago with the landing of the Moon Impact Probe. The following article would give you all the information related to this mission.
| Friday, November 14, 2008
The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) successfully landed on the moon's surface at 20:31 IST (on November 14th 2008). This marks India's solid impact in the world space race. India is only the 4th country in the world to be successful in the mission. Prior to India - United States, former Soviet Union, Japan and China are the only countries which has sent a spacecraft to the moon.

Let us look at the various facets of this mission, what exactly is the MIB and what is India capable of achieving with this mission.

Objectives of the Moon Mission
  • Preparation of a 3D atlas of both the near and far sides of the moon.
  • To conduct mapping of the lunar surface and seek presence and distribution of mineral and chemical elements like Iron, Magnesium, Silicon, Aluminum, Calcium and Titanium also high atomic number elements such as Uranium, Thorium and Radon.
  • Gather and analyze data acquired from the MIB which would enable the study of evolutionary history of the moon, stratigraphy and nature of the moon's crust as also the impact moon had on Earth's formation.
  • To realize and understand the impact achieved and data acquired at various stages of the mission such as testing, launching, telemetry data reception, etc. which could be further used by scientists in future missions and experiments.
Chandrayaan-1 Mission Timeline
  • October 22, 2008
    Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launches Chandrayaan-1 (which is the name of the spacecraft) with the help of Polar Space Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11). The launch was done from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in the state of  Andhra Pradesh
  • October 26, 2008
    Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft enters deep space successfully crossing 150,000 km distance mark from earth.
  • November 4, 2008
    Chandrayaan-1 enters the Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT).
  • November 8, 2008
    The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft successfully enters lunar orbit - the farthest distance any Indian spacecraft has ever reached
  • November 12, 2008
    Chandrayaan-1 reaches its intended operational lunar orbit which is at a height of about 100 km from the surface of the moon.
  • November 14, 2008
    Chandrayaan-1 releases the Moon Impact Probe (MIB) towards the moon, which eventually lands successfully on the lunar surface.
Details of Chandrayaan-1 Lunar Spacecraft
  • The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft weighs around 1380 kg and is cuboid in shape. It weighs 675 kg at the lunar orbit.
  • This is a 3-axis stabilized spacecraft which uses two star sensors, gyros (which enables rotational mechanism) and four reaction wheels.
  • The spacecraft is powered by single-sided solar array. Lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries would be used during an eclipse.
  • The propulsion system of the spacecraft has adequate propellant to enable at least 2 years of mission time.
  • The spacecraft is also equipped with three Solid State Recorders (SSRs) which would enable recording of various scientific data.
Details of the Moon Impact Probe (MIB)

MIB is a small rover machine which would help scientists understand and analyze various facets of the moon's surface and gather scientific data for research and development. The MIB would also explore to help discover any possible sources of water and mineral or chemical elements on the lunar surface, below it and even in the atmosphere. The MIB is equipped with three instruments namely Radar Altimeter, Video Imaging System and Mass Spectrometer to gather scientific data.The MIB is particularly like a honeycomb structure which helps house the various subsystems and instruments. The primary task of the MIB is to collect data, close-surface photos, trajectories, etc. and relay them back to the main orbiting spacecraft (Chandrayaan-1) which in turn would transmit the same back to the ISRO command station on earth.

(For further reference and to be in touch with all the future developments please see http://www.isro.gov.in)
   
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