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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chandrayaan I Successfully Launched

Chandrayaan I, India's first Mission to the Moon, was successfully launched earlier today. The 1380 kg unmanned spacecraft was launched via the 316 tonne PSLV C11 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at exactly 0622 hrs IST.

Chandrayaan I is expected to reach the moon around Nov 8 and has a life span of 2 years. Costing 80 M USD, Chandrayaan is carrying payloads for 11 scientific experiments including five from India, two from U.S. and one each from Germany, Britain, Sweden and Bulgaria.

Some of the specific areas of study to be conducted (Taken from the ISRO Website)

  • 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

This is truly a momentous occasion for every Indian and every member of the scientific community. Three Cheers.

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