Chandrayaan camera clicks earth from deep spaceOctober 31st, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Oct 31 (IANS) The terrain mapping camera onboard India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 took excellent shots of the earth from deep space in black and white, the space agency said here Friday.”The camera was operated through a series of commands from the spacecraft control centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) here. The images were received by the deep space network (DSN) at Byalalu,” the space agency said in a statement. Byalalu is about 40 km from Bangalore.
The first imagery, taken from an altitude (perigee) of 9,000 km above the earth, clearly shows the northern coast of Australia, while the second imagery, taken from an altitude (apogee) of 70,000 km from the earth, shows the southern coast of Australia.
“Analysis of the images conducted by Istrac’s data centre confirmed excellent performance of the camera, one of the 11 scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft. The device has a resolution of five metres,” the statement noted.
The other four Indian payloads of Chandrayaan-1 are the hyper spectral imager (HySI), lunar laser ranging instrument (LLRI), high energy x-ray spectrometre (HEX) and the moon impact probe (MIP).
The remaining six payloads are from international space agencies such as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), ESA (European Space Agency) and from Bulgaria.
Cruising on its way to the lunar orbit, Chandrayaan-I is elliptically orbiting around the earth at 267,000 km apogee (farthest from earth) and 465 km perigee (nearest to earth) since Wednesday.
“In this orbit, Chandrayaan takes about six days to go round the earth once. The spacecraft performance is being monitored and it’s health is normal,” the statement added.
In the next orbit-raising exercise, scheduled for Nov 3, the spacecraft will be fired to enter the elliptical lunar orbit, which will be 386,000 km away from the earth (apogee).
All going well, Chandrayaan-I will be placed in the final lunar orbit Nov 8, which will be about 100 km from the surface of the moon.
Chandrayaan-I 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 80 km north of Chennai.