Chandrayaan-1 successfully launched -- next stop: The moon

October 22, 2008

Chandrayaan-1, India's first mission to the Moon, was successfully launched earlier this morning from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) in Sriharikota, India.

The PSLV-C11 rocket, an upgraded version of the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO's) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, lifted off at 02:52 Central European Summer Time (CEST) and, about 20 minutes later, injected the spacecraft into a highly elongated orbit around the Earth.

This marked the beginning of Chandrayaan-1's journey to the Moon, which will culminate with a major manoeuvre - the lunar orbit insertion - in about two weeks. Once the spacecraft is orbiting the Moon, further manoeuvres will progressively lower its altitude to the final 100 km-high circular orbit.

At the earliest opportunity, the spacecraft will eject the 'Moon Impact Probe' to provide information about the lunar surface. The mission will then continue from orbit, with remote-sensing studies carried out by its 11 scientific instruments. Three of these instruments were provided by Europe (UK, Germany, Sweden) through ESA.

A new step in India-Europe collaboration

India and Europe began collaborating on space ventures when, in 1978, the first cooperation agreement between ESA and ISRO was signed. In 1981, an Ariane 1 launcher carried India's first geostationary satellite, Apple. So far, 13 of India's INSAT satellites have flown on Europe's Arianes.

Chandrayaan-1, ISRO's first mission beyond Earth orbit, marks the beginning of a new era of collaboration between ESA and India in space science.

ESA is making the expertise gained thanks to its SMART-1 lunar mission (2003჻�) available for this collaboration. Apart from coordinating and supporting the provision of the three European instruments (C1XS, SIR-2 and SARA, versions of the first two of which flew on SMART-1), ESA assisted in areas such as flight dynamics and is supporting data archiving and processing. As a result of the collaboration, ESA and ISRO will share the data from their respective instruments.

"In an era of renewed interest for the Moon on a world-wide scale, the ESA-ISRO collaboration on Chandrayaan-1 is a new opportunity for Europe to expand its competence in lunar science while tightening the long-standing relationship with India - an ever stronger space power," said Prof. David Southwood, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration. "While the exploration of space calls for new challenges to be overcome, joining forces is becoming more and more a key to future successes."

"We congratulate ISRO on the successful launch this morning and we are eagerly looking forward to science to begin," Southwood concluded.
Note for editors

After the first signature in 1978, the ESA-ISRO cooperative agreement on space has been renewed four times. The latest renewal was signed in January 2007, and covers a period of five years. The specific ESA-ISRO agreement on Chandrayaan-1 was signed in 2005.

Chandrayaan-1 is led by ISRO. In addition to ESA, other international partners in the mission include Bulgaria and the USA.

The European instruments on board are:

The Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer (C1XS), developed by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in the UK in collaboration the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. It will measure the abundance of magnesium, aluminium, silicon, iron and titanium over the surface of the Moon.

The Smart Near-Infrared Spectrometer (SIR-2), developed by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Science, Germany. It will explore the mineral resources of the Moon, the formation of its surface features and the different layers of the Moon's crust.

The Sub-kiloelectronvolt Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA), developed by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in collaboration with the Space Physics Laboratory of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, India. It will study the way the Moon's surface interacts with the solar wind, and the surface's magnetic anomalies.

European Space Agency

Related Spacecraft Articles from Brightsurf:

Final images from Cassini spacecraft
Researchers are busy analysing some of the final data sent back from the Cassini spacecraft which has been in orbit around Saturn for more than 13 years until the end of its mission in September 2017.

New nano-barrier for composites could strengthen spacecraft payloads
The University of Surrey has developed a robust multi-layed nano-barrier for ultra-lightweight and stable carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) that could be used to build high precision instrument structures for future space missions.

'Oumuamua is not an alien spacecraft
Early reports of the interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua's odd characteristics led some to speculate that the object could be an alien spacecraft, sent from a distant civilization to examine our star system.

NASA's TESS spacecraft starts science operations
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has started its search for planets around nearby stars, officially beginning science operations on July 25, 2018.

NASA spacecraft finds new type of magnetic explosion
Four NASA spacecraft have observed magnetic reconnection in a turbulent region of the Earth's outer atmosphere known as the magnetosheath, the planet's first line of defense against the intensity of the solar wind.

do spacecraft, newborns and endangered shellfish have in common?
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have developed a microbial detection technique so sensitive that it allows them to detect as few as 50-100 bacterial cells present on a surface.

Promising sensors for submarines, mines and spacecraft
Researchers from the Physics Department of Moscow State University and their colleagues have discovered a mechanism that allows gas sensors, based on nanocrystalline metal oxides, to work at room temperature.

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth
NASA's asteroid sample return spacecraft successfully used Earth's gravity on Friday to slingshot itself on a path toward the asteroid Bennu, for a rendezvous next August.

On the road to creating an electrodeless spacecraft propulsion engine
Experiments by researchers give clues about the behavior of plasma in different environments.

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts
NASA's Van Allen Probes uncover new phenomena in our near-Earth environment with their unique double orbit.

Read More: Spacecraft News and Spacecraft Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to