From launch to landing - Indian moon mission’s journey

November 14th, 2008 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Nov 14 (IANS) India’s first probe into moon landed on the lunar surface Friday night after riding on Chandrayaan-1, the country’s first unmanned spacecraft to the moon, after travelling around 384,000 km in 24 days days after blasting off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh Oct 22.Soon after the launch at 6.22 a.m. the spacecraft carrying 11 scientific payloads was put in an orbit of 22,860 km apogee (farthest point to the earth) and 225 km perigee (nearest point to the earth).

This is how Chandrayaan-1 reached the lunar orbit and then sent the moon impact probe (MIP) with the colours of the Indian national flag painted on its sides to the lunar surface.

Oct 23, first orbit raising exercise: apogee 37,900 km, perigee 305 km, 11 days to go round the earth.

Oct 25: apogee 74,715 km, perigee 336 km. 25 and half hours to orbit the earth.

Oct 26: apogee 164,600 km, perigee 348 km. Enters deep space. Takes 73 hours to go round the earth.

Oct 29: apogee 267,000 km, perigee 465 km. Six days to orbit the earth.

Oct 29: The terrain mapping camera successfully tested. First pictures, of northern coast of Australia from a height of 9,000 km and of southern coast from a height of 70,000 km. ISRO says “excellent imagery”.

Nov 4: Reaches 380,000 km from earth, just around 4,000 km from moon.

Nov 8: Chandrayaan-1 successfully enters lunar orbit around 5.15 p.m. and India becomes the fifth country to send a spacecraft to moon. The others are United States, former Soviet Union, Japan and China. The European Space Agency (ESA), a consortium of 17 countries, has also sent a spacecraft to moon.

Nov 9: Chandrayaan-1 nudges closer to moon, orbiting over its polar regions at 200 km periselene (nearest point from moon) and 7,500 km aposelene (farthest point from moon).

Nov 10: The spacecraft moves to 187 km from the moon (periselene) and 255 km away (aposelene), orbiting elliptically once in every 2 hours and 16 minutes over the polar regions of the moon.

Nov 11: Chandrayaan-1 moves into further lower orbit of 102-km periselene and 255-km aposelene.

Nov 12: Placed in the final circular lunar orbit of 100 km, spinning around the poles of the moon every two hours.

Nov 13: Excitement builds ahead of the landing of the moon impact probe (MIP) on lunar surface Nov 14 night.

Nov 14 morning: Countdown begins at ISRO’s ground command and tracking centre in Bangalore.

Nov 14 afternoon: Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam arrives at the command and tracking centre to be part of the ‘India on Moon’ mission.

Nov 14 evening: At 8.06 p.m. Chandrayaan-1 releases the MIP.

Nov 14: At 8.31 p.m., the MIP covers the 100 km distance, taking “beautiful pictures of the lunar surface” as it descends.

At 6.22 am on Oct 22, ISRO chief G. Madhavan Nair said: “Our baby is on way to the moon.”

On Nov 14 night, he said: “We have given the moon to India.”

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