Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft moves to higher orbit

October 25th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Oct 25 (IANS) Chandrayaan-1, India’s first unmanned mission to the moon, is now moving in an orbit of 74,715 km from the earth, making it the first Indian spacecraft to go beyond the 36,000-km-high geostationary orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said Saturday.ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, about 15 km from Bangalore city centre, carried out the second orbit-raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan Saturday at 5.48 a.m. taking its apogee (farthest point to earth) to 74,715 km and perigee (closest point to earth) to 336 km.

“All systems on board the spacecraft are functioning normally,” a top official of the space agency said.

“Chandrayaan’s 440 Newton Liquid Engine was fired for about 16 minutes by commanding the spacecraft from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO here,” the official said.

In this orbit “Chandrayaan-1 takes about 25 and a half hours to go round the earth once. This is the first time an Indian spacecraft has gone beyond the 36,000 km high geostationary orbit and reached an altitude more than twice that height,” the official said.

Chandrayaan-1 was launched into the orbit Oct 22 by PSLV-C11, a modified version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai.

The launch vehicle placed Chandrayaan-1 in an elliptical orbit with a perigee of 255 km and apogee of 22,860 km.

Chandrayaan-1’s orbit was raised to 39,000 km apogee and 305 km perigee the next day.

The spacecraft is being tracked by the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Bylalu, about 40 km from Bangalore city centre.

“Further orbit-raising manoeuvres to take Chandrayaan-1 to still higher orbits are planned in the next few days,” the official said.

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