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Earth to Moon: India’s on its way

With 11 payloads, one of the most heavily loaded lunar missions.

Written by Theindianexpress | October 22, 2008 3:00:08 am

So Why is this unique?

Will try to map high-resolution 3-D topography of entire moon, get mineral composition of surface,investigate presence/absence of water. Such detailed analysis, if successful, will be a first.

At Rs 386 crore, cheapest moon mission so far.

With 11 payloads, one of the most heavily loaded lunar missions.

At two years in space, amongst the longer duration missions.

What’s The journey to the moon like?

After lift-off, first milestone is separation of spacecraft from launch vehicle PSLV-C11. Expected 19 minutes after lift-off.

Then Chandrayaan-I will be powered by its own engine.

Will circle the earth in elliptical orbit. Will fire rockets at scheduled stages to go into progressively higher orbits until it reaches 386,000 km from the earth. Will take 11 days to go around the earth in this orbit.

In the 2nd revolution in this elliptical orbit, spacecraft will slow down to get sucked into moon’s gravitational field after which it will start orbiting.

Then begins stepwise lowering into lower and lower orbits until it reaches the targeted orbit of 100 km from the moon.

In this orbit, Chandrayaan will fire the Moon Impacter Probe (MIP), designed to hit the lunar surface at a designated area. MIP not supposed to survive after that but will demonstrate technologies for a future soft-landing mission.

Once MIP released, all scientific instruments on Chandrayaan will be turned on and will begin their observations.

What’s it carrying?

11 payloads, five Indian. Six foreign payloads: three from theEuropean Space Agency (to map minerals), two from NASA (to detect water-ice) and one from Bulgaria (to monitor radiation levels).

What next?

Chandrayaan 2, which will involve landing on moon. Expected date: 2011-2012

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