ISRO's Chandrayaan 1: The premier mission resulted in several goals achieved during the orbiter and India subsequently became the fourth country across the world, to place its flag on the moon.
Chandrayaan 1: Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) gets ready for its second national moon mission Chandrayaan 2 on July 15, there seems to be a weight of its glorious legacy with its first ever lunar orbiter! Chandrayaan 1, the country’s first ever moon mission, was the very first quest to the moon, which had put India on a pedestal of global space research. The premier mission resulted in several goals achieved during the orbiter and India subsequently became the fourth country across the world, to place its flag on the moon. Here are a few important aspects that one must know about ISRO’s Chandrayaan 1 and the illustrious legacy which it holds for the country:
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- In the year 2003, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced the Chandrayaan 1 project, defining it as a major boost to India’s space progra
- In the same year, as many as 100 eminent Indian space scientists discussed and approved the National Lunar Task Force recommendations set up by ISRO, to launch an Indian probe to the moon
- In the month of November 2003, the central government gave its nod for Chandrayaan 1
- It was successfully launched on October 22, 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, which is around 80 km to the north of Chennai. The space vehicle was inserted into lunar orbit on November 8, 2008.
- After successfully completing all of all the major mission objectives, the orbit had been raised to 200 km during the month of May 2009. The mission satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the moon
- Chandrayaan 1 was concluded on August 29, 2009 when the communication with the spacecraft was lost
- ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) standard configuration was chosen as the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan 1
- During the operation, the spacecraft was orbiting around the moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for the chemical, mineralogical as well as photo-geologic mapping for the lunar surface.
- The spacecraft carried as many as 11 scientific instruments built in USA, India, UK, Germany, Sweden as well as Bulgaria.
- The space mission of Chandrayaan 1 was aimed for remote sensing and planetary science, having a mission life of 2 years.
- The weight of the spacecraft on lift off was 1380 kg and the onboard power was 700 watts
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Chandrayaan 1 goals and achievements:
- The probe hit the moon’s crater which resulted in ejecting subsurface soil, which could be utilized for analyzing lunar water ice. The location of the impact was named as ‘Jawahar Point’ as a symbolic gesture. This was because in 1962, the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was set up by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the Father of Indian Space Program, became the chairperson of the organisation. INCOSPAR was later renamed as ISRO.
- Among its many achievements, the moon mission discovered the presence of water molecules in lunar soil and the presence of ice at the polar regions. This is considered to be one of the biggest scientific discoveries for space research across the world
- Apart from detecting the presence of water molecules, the data collected through the microwave sensor of Chandrayaan 1 detected a good amount of past tectonic activity on the lunar surface.
- The mineral content on the lunar surface was mapped through Moon Minerology Mapper and the presence of iron was confirmed, along with changes in rock composition.
- Interestingly, the terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan 1, recorded images of the landing site of the US spacecraft Apollo 15, besides producing around 70, 000 three-dimensional images.