Chandrayaan lowered further in lunar orbit

November 10th, 2008 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 9 (IANS) India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 was pushed further towards the moon’s surface in the first orbit-lowering manoeuvre late Sunday, a top space agency official said.”The first orbit lowering operation was carried out successfully at 20.03 hrs IST by firing the liquid engine onboard the spacecraft for 57 seconds. All systems are functioning satisfactorily,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Director S. Sathis told IANS here.

In this elliptical orbit, Chandrayaan will be circling the moon over its polar regions at 200 km periselene (nearest point from moon) and 7,500 km aposelene (farthest point from moon).

“Further orbital manoeuvres are planned over the coming days to lower the spacecraft gradually to its designated slot of 100×100 km from the lunar surface for conducting various experiments, including high resolution remote sensing of the moon,” Satish said.

The operation was carried from the spacecraft control centre of the space agency’s telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) here along with its deep space network (DSN) at Byalalu, about 40 km from this tech hub.

Chandrayaan was successfully put into the lunar orbit Saturday after an 18-day voyage, making it the first ever Indian-built spacecraft to break away from the earth’s gravitational field and get captured by the moon’s equally powerful gravity.

Chandrayaan carries 11 scientific instruments, including six foreign payloads - two from the US, three from the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from Bulgaria. The remaining five are indigenously designed and developed by various centres of the state-run ISRO.

The spacecraft was blasted off Oct 22 onboard the 316-tonne polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota spaceport, about 80km north of Chennai.

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