20 October 2008

Mission Chandrayaan

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) reaches a new peak in their mission. In two days time Chandrayaan-I will be launched at Sriharikota on October 22, 2008 at exactly 6:20am IST.

Chandrayaan-I is an un-manned lunar spacecraft (meaning it carries no human). The spacecraft (Chandrayaan-I) will be launched by a modified version of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11). The lunar probe would revolve around Moon for two years taking high resolution images of the lunar surface and also mapping its chemical and mineralogical content. It also concentrates on the polar region where water and ice could possibly be found. The satellite weighs about 1304 kg and the estimated cost is about INR 3.8 billion.

Chandrayaan-I under construction

The scientific payloads/experiments of Chandrayaan are TMC, HySI, LLRI, HEX, MIP, C1XS, SIR-2, SARA, RADOM, MiniSAR and M3. Click here to know more about them.

The Path of Chandrayaan

The Moon Exploration began on September 14, 1959, when Luna 2 was launched by Soviet Union. Since then USA, Japan and China have also successfully launched spacecrafts to the moon. This is India’s first mission to Moon and India will be the sixth country to send a spacecraft there. USA is the only country that has successfully sent man to during the Apollo Missions (1963-1972).

Chandrayaan-I will be followed by Chandrayaan-II in 2010/11. Chandrayaan-II will consist of the spacecraft itself and a landing platform with the Moon Rover. A moon rover is an automated motorized vehicle which moves around the surface of the moon, collecting soil and rock samples, do in situ chemical analysis and transmit it to the mother-spacecraft, Chandrayaan-II. USA has already used the lunar rover during their Apollo missions (Apollo 15 - 17).

A artistic representation of the Chandrayaan-II rover

The Lunar Rover of Apollo 15 with James Irwin

ISRO also plans to undertake a manned space exploration by 2014 (send man to space). India would then become the fourth country to send man to space after Soviet Union, USA and China.

If these missions succeed, then ISRO plans to send a manned mission to the moon on 2020. If ISRO succeeds in this, India will be the second country to land man on moon.

Meanwhile China plans to land a rover on the moon on 2012. China has entered into an agreement to work with Russia to eventually land Taikonauts (Chinese Astronauts) on the moon before 2020. So its all a race between India and China on who will reach there first.

I just hope all this works out for India as the countdown for Chandrayaan-I has begun.

Chandrayaan-I is ready for the launch

People who live in Chennai can actually see the launch of Chandrayaan-I. Look at North at the exactly 6:20am on October 22nd. You should be able to see the rocket shooting upwards provided the clear sky.


Vivek said...

lol dude...the first blog i saw after reading about the lunar mission was urs and how rite i was...updated!!!

Inchara Prakash said...

I was waiting to post abt this.. was waiting for a rite time..