SRIHARIKOTA: Carrying over a billion hopes, India’s maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-I began its historic journey to the moon today when an indigenou
PSLV-C11 takes off carrying Chandrayaan-1 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. (AFP Photo)
sly developed rocket placed the spacecraft
into the Transfer Orbit “perfectly”. ( Watch )
India becomes the sixth nation, after the US, Russia, European Space Agency, China and Japan, to send a mission to the moon.
Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) home-grown rocket PSLV-C11 lifted off at 6.22 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here taking the spacecraft beyond the thick dark cloud cover over this coastal town.
About 18.2 minutes later, ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair declared the launch successful which sent over a 1000 space scientists into a bout of jubilation. ( Watch )
“The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the earth orbit.” “With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit,” Nair said.
Chandrayaan-I is carrying an Indian flag which will be placed on the lunar surface when the Moon Impactor Probe lands on the moon during the course of the two-year mission.
“Our baby is on the way to the moon,” Chandrayaan-I spacecraft director Mylswamy Annadurai said after the satellite was injected in the Transfer Orbit with a a perigee of about 250 km and apogee of about 23,000 km, about 19 minutes.
Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair described the successful launch as a historic moment in India’s space programme.
“The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the earth orbit. With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit,” Nair announced in the mission control centre shortly after PSLV-C11 put the spacecraft in a transfer orbit.
After circling the earth in its highly elliptical Transfer Orbit for a while, Chandrayaan-1 would be taken into more elliptical orbits by repeated firing of the spacecraft’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) at opportune moments.
Subsequently, the LAM would be again fired to take the spacecraft to the vicinity of the moon by following a Lunar Transfer Trajecctory (LTT) path, whose apogee lies at 3,87,000 km.
Later, when Chandrayaan-1 reaches the vicinity of the moon, its LAM would be fired again so as to slow down the spacecraft sufficiently to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit. The next step would be to reduce the height of the spacecraft orbit around the moon in various steps.