India became the first country to enter the Mars orbit in its first attempt


On October 22, 2008 India will take a giant leap into the world of astronomy when Chandrayaan I, its unmanned lunar exploration mission by the Space Research Organization of India (ISRO) will leave for its destination. Scheduled to be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, under the leadership of Mylswamy Annadurai, Chandrayaan I is intended to study the lunar surface in detail and look up for the signs of evolution of our solar system on this natural satellite of earth.

Objectives of the Chandrayaan I Mission
  • The mission will carry out the detailed analysis of the lunar surface using a set of remote sensing payloads and will help throw some light on mystery of evolution of solar system and of moon itself.
  • It will help realize a number of scientific goals such as harnessing the science payloads, lunar craft and the launch vehicle with suitable ground support system including DSN station, among others.
ISRO has charted out some specific areas of study for the Chandrayaan mission. It includes searching for surface or sub- surface water-ice on the moon; identification of chemical end members of lunar high land rocks and high resolution minerological and chemical imaging of permanently shadowed north and south polar regions.

The Chandrayaan I mission will help ISRO, NASA and other world space agencies in their study of moon and might provide a breakthrough in solving the evolution enigma of solar system.

Chandrayaan I will be followed by, Chandrayaan II which will be launched in 2011, in collaboration with Russian Federal Space Agency. This mission with motorized rover, to orbit the lunar surface,collect the soil samples, analyze them and send the data to earth with the help of Chandrayaan II space craft, is expected to provide a new zeal to the Indian astronomical projects.

Some Facts about Chandrayaan I
  • Mission - Proposed by the Indian Space Research Organization in 1999, the mission got the approval of the cabinet in 2003. Earlier named Somyaana, it was then changed to Chandrayaan, which means 'moon vehicle' in Sanskrit.
  • Journey - The distance of 3,86000, where the space craft will finally position itself, is expected to take around 5-1/2 days. Chandrayaan will be on mission for two years, circling the moon, keeping itself 100 km away from the lunar surface.
  • Launch - Taking off from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota at 6:20 am on October 22, 2008,it was launched using the PSLV.
  • Cost - The cost of the mission has been calculated to be around INR 386 crore which includes the cost of Payload - 53 crore; spacecraft bus - 83 crore; PSLV - 100 crore and Scientific Data Center - 50 crore.
Human Endeavors over the years to reach the Moon -
  • Sep 1959: Luna 2 of USSR, the first ever successful expedition to moon, landed safely on the lunar surface.
  • Dec 1968: The first man, Neil Armstrong - commander of the US mission Apollo 11 set foot on the surface of moon.
  • Nov 1970: Lunokhod 1, the first robotic rover, which was a part of the Luna 17 mission of the USSR made a successful landing on moon
  • Jan 1990: Japan launched 'Hiten' thus becoming the third country after USSR and US to send a mission to moon.
  • Sep 2003: SMART -1, a low cost lunar orbiter, launched by the European Space Agency
  • 2007 - Selene, Japan's lunar orbiter, launched for mapping the topography of moon.
  • 2007: China made its foray into Lunar Exploration with the launch of its unmanned moon mission named Changed.

Last Updated on : 05 January 2012