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Chandrayaan-I : India’s flight into the space

The day is here. Years of hard work is about to pay off. India is all set to launch its first ever unmanned moon mission tomorrow.

Chandrayaan-I will be launched tomorrow, i.e. 22 October 2008 at 0620 hrs IST (0050 hrs GMT) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The probe will be set on a journey towards moon where it will collect useful data about the natural satellite of the earth. The long journey of 3,86,000 kms is expected to take about 5 and a half days.

Chandrayaan-I will be carried into space by India’s reliable rocket PSLV-C11 (Polar Satellite Launch Vahicle) which has in the past successfully launched many Indian and foriegn satellites into the orbit. Chandrayaan-I will revolve for around 2 years around the moon at an altitude of nearly 100kms and take high resolution 3D images of the lunar surface and try to find possible mineral deposits as well as traces of water. It will also look for presence of a rare isotope Helium-3, which can be very  useful in solving the energy riddle of our planet. The spacecraft translated into “Lunar Craft” (Chandra=lunar/moon and yaan= craft/vehicle) will carry a payload of 590kg which includes 5instruments from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and 6of other space agencies including NASA, ESA(European Space Agency).

This is the description of the spacecraft as given on the ISRO site:

Spacecraft for lunar mission is :

  • Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.50 m side.
  • Weighing 1304 kg at launch and 590 kg at lunar orbit.
  • Accommodates eleven science payloads.
  • 3-axis stabilized spacecraft using two star sensors, gyros and four reaction wheels.
  • The power generation would be through a canted single-sided solar array to provide required power during all phases of the mission. This deployable solar array consisting of a single panel generates 700W of peak power. Solar array along with yoke would be stowed on the south deck of the spacecraft in the launch phase. During eclipse spacecraft will be powered by Lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries.
  • After deployment the solar panel plane is canted by 30º to the spacecraft pitch axis.
  • The spacecraft employs a X-band, 0.7m diameter parabolic antenna for payload data transmission. The antenna employs a dual gimbal mechanism to track the earth station when the spacecraft is in lunar orbit.
  • The spacecraft uses a bipropellant integrated propulsion system to reach lunar orbit as well as orbit and attitude maintenance while orbiting the moon.
  • The propulsion system carries required propellant for a mission life of 2 years, with adequate margin.
  • The Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TTC) communication is in S-band frequency.
  • The scientific payload data transmission is in X-band frequency.
  • The spacecraft has three Solid State Recorders (SSRs) on board to record data from various payloads.
  • SSR-1 will store science payload data and has capability of storing 32Gb data.
  • SSR-2 will store science payload data along with spacecraft attitude information (gyro and star sensor), satellite house keeping and other auxiliary data. The storing capacity of SSR-2 is 8Gb.
  • M3 (Moon Mineralogy Mapper) payload has an independent SSR with 10Gb capacity.

Chandrayaan

The cost of Chandrayaan-I mission is estimated to be around $83 million.

So why all the fuss about Chandrayaan when US and USSR did this almost half a century ago? Well, a space mission is something to do with national pride as well. Indians will be proud to find themselves in the elite club of nations/space agencies who have achieved this incredible feat. The list as of now includes USA,Russia,China,Japan,ESA. Its not that difficult to understand what it takes to stand in that list which also does not includes many of the far more developed countries than India. It only re establishes the excellence of Indian minds and justifies why there is a demand for Indian brain worldwide. It re affirms India’s rise as a global super power not only economically but also technologically and millitarily. India’s inclusion will only heat up the space race in Asia. India will be seen as a more reliable option for countries wanting to place their satellites into the space but lacking the ability to do so. Not to forget, India’s space programme also has applications in improving the country’s defence. PSLV, the rocket developed by ISRO will be the base of Agni-V, India’s first ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) with a range of 5000kms which is expected to be tested towards the end of 2010.

That gives you enough reasons to rejoice if you are an Indian. But at the same time, we should not forget we do not stop here. Though that is the last thing on ISRO’s agenda right now. ISRO is planning another mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-II, which will attempt to land on the moon. Chandrayaan-II will be launched between 2010-2012. ISRO also plans a manned lunar mission by 2020 and a unmanned mission to Mars. Way to go ISRO.

An ESA video on Chandrayaan-I:

All the very best to all the scientists working for the project. You guys deserve it.

Images from ISRO website and here
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This post was written by:

- who has written 290 posts on BT-G.com: The Everything Blog.

I'm a 22 year old guy blogging about things which I feel are important. Currently pursuing B.Tech in Biotechnology.

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23 Comments For This Post

  1. riki Says:

    hello…good…you always keep on enhancing my knowledge..it is so good to check your site for quality information..
    it will surely make us proud..

  2. Mayank Says:

    Your welcome!

    Yeah,i feel proud as an Indian.
    I obviously watched the launch LIVE.Did you?

  3. riki Says:

    NO!i missed it.. :(
    but yes i feel proud of it too..

  4. Mayank Says:

    If you missed it, i posted a launch video at the end of this post.Check it out.
    http://biotech-geek.com/blog2/2008/10/22/2008-a-space-odyssey/

  5. lvs Says:

    Excellent article. Great pictures. Did you know that they used the earths gravity to slingshot Chandrayaan. This way it had to carry lesser fuel. There were innovations galore in Chandrayaan.

  6. Mayank Says:

    @ Ivs
    Yep,im aware of that. BTW AFAIK using gravity to slingshot has long been used.Correct me if im wrong.
    BTW,thanks for the appreciation. You might also like to read my follow up post of the launch here: http://biotech-geek.com/blog2/2008/10/22/2008-a-space-odyssey/

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