Despite rain, India’s maiden moon mission on track (Roundup)October 21st, 2008 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Oct 21 (IANS) India was Tuesday set to launch its historic unmanned flight to the moon, the sixth to do so after the US, former Soviet Union, European Space Agency, China and Japan. A heavy downpour at the spaceport did not affect the countdown for the early Wednesday morning launch, scientists said.The fully-loaded 44-metre-tall 316-tonne rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C11) has been standing in proud defiance of the rain gods at the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, 80 km north of Chennai.
It holds aloft the 1,380-kg lunar orbiter Chandrayaan, waiting for the ignition command at 6.20 am Wednesday.
Still very much within the earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft is sitting protected by the rocket’s 3.2-metre bulbous heat shield.
“Eighteen minutes into the flight the rocket will sling the spacecraft into the 255-km perigee (nearest point to earth) and 23,000 km apogee (farthest point from earth) path to script a new history in the annals of India’s space odyssey,” S. Satish, director, Publications & Press Relations of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS.
From there the spacecraft will be taken into more elliptical orbits, firing its onboard motor - technically called Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) - towards the moon, 387,000 km from the earth.
Once the spacecraft nears the moon, the LAM will be fired in reverse to slow it down to enable the moon’s gravity to capture Chandrayaan into an elliptical orbit around the lunar poles.
Thereafter the spacecraft’s orbit will be gradually lowered till it is 100 km above the moon’s surface. That is expected to happen around Nov 8.
On Nov 14 the spacecraft will eject an important piece of luggage on to the moon’s surface - the Moon Impact Probe (MIP).
The spacecraft cameras and other instruments that would do the intended tests for the next two years will be activated after that.
The 11 experimental instruments carried by the spacecraft are from different sources - five Indian, two from the US, three from the European Space Agency and one from Bulgaria - and each has a different purpose.
“Designing the spacecraft that would fit these pre-built instruments was a challenge which was overcome with Indian ingenuity,” Mylswamy Annadurai, project director, Chandrayaan, told IANS.
Indian space scientists may not face such problems in Chandrayaan-2 as they can stipulate the payload specifications.
The Indian government has sanctioned Rs.4.25 billion for the second moon mission that is expected to happen sometime in 2011.
That mission will have the Russian Federal Space Agency as a partner which will provide the moon rover.
Looking forward India may plan missions to Mars, Venus, Mercury and also an asteroid or comet flyby mission.
- India's maiden moon mission on track as rain stops (Intro Roundup) - Oct 21, 2008
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- 'India's lunar mission found moon alive & kicking' - Jul 16, 2012
- Chandrayaan to orbit moon for two years - Oct 12, 2008
- India launches its mission moon - Oct 22, 2008
- Rocket completes mission, India's first moon spacecraft now in orbit (Lead) - Oct 22, 2008
- Chandrayaan-1 to get within 500 km of moon Tuesday - Nov 03, 2008
- Indian-made European satellite in geostationary orbit - Nov 30, 2010
- India notches another space success - Jul 15, 2011
- India's first lunar spacecraft now cruising around earth (Second Lead) - Oct 22, 2008
- India's advanced satellite placed in geosynchronous orbit - May 25, 2011
- Chandrayaan pushed closer to lunar orbit - Oct 29, 2008
- India's moon mission countdown continues in heavy rain - Oct 21, 2008
- Indian communication satellite raised to near its orbit - Jul 18, 2011
Tags: apogee motor, elliptical orbit, elliptical orbits, european space agency, heavy downpour, indian space research, indian space research organisation, launch vehicle, lunar orbiter, proud defiance