Chandrayaan reaches ‘home’ in lunar orbit (Lead)

November 12th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Nov 12 (IANS) India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 Wednesday reached its intended operational orbit at about 100 km from the lunar surface for a two-year rendezvous with the moon.“Chandrayaan has reached its home in the final orbit. The spacecraft is orbiting at an altitude of 100 km above the lunar surface. It will spin around the moon once in two hours,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director S. Satish told IANS here.

The final orbit-reduction manoeuvre was carried out at 6.30 p.m. (IST) in one minute from the spacecraft control centre at ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in Bangalore, with critical support from the two antennas of its deep space network (DSN) at Byalalu, about 40 km from here.

Chandrayaan will conduct chemical, mineralogical and photo geological mapping of the moon from the operational circular orbit over the next two years with its 11 scientific instruments (payloads).

“Two of the payloads - terrain mapping camera (TMC) and radiation dose monitor (Radom) - have been switched on. The TMC has taken some excellent pictures of the earth as well as the moon on its journey,” Satish said.

The remaining instruments will be activated in the coming days.

“We plan to release the moon impact probe (MIP) from the spacecraft Friday evening to crash at a designated spot on the lunar surface. The Indian tri-colour in it will also hit the moon along with the probe,” Satish added.

The spacecraft’s health is fine and all subsystems onboard are functioning satisfactorily.

The instruments include 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.

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

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