[FPSPACE] Indian satellite in lunar orbit
pjp961 at svol.net
Mon Nov 10 15:52:24 EST 2008
India's Chandrayaan-1 probe enters lunar orbit
08/11/2008 17:03 NEW DELHI, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - An Indian lunar probe
entered into orbit around the Moon on Saturday at the start of a two-year
remote sensing mission, the Indian Space Research Organization said.
Chandrayaan-1, meaning "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit, was launched on an
Indian-built PSLV-C11 rocket on October 22.
The organization said in a statement that all systems of the unmanned
spacecraft were functioning normally after entering lunar orbit.
"In the coming days, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft's orbit around
the moon will be carefully reduced in steps to achieve a final polar orbit
of about 100 km height from the moon's surface," the organization said in a
statement posted on its website.
"Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of the spacecraft will be
released to hit the lunar surface. Later, the other scientific instruments
will be turned on sequentially leading to the normal phase of the mission,"
India's first lunar mission signifies the country's breakthrough into the
club of space powers, making it the third Asian country after Japan and
China to reach the Moon.
The 1,304-kg spacecraft is equipped with 10 scientific instruments to study
the Moon from a 100-km orbit, and one probe that will slam into the lunar
surface hoping to uncover signs of Helium 3, an isotope that may fuel energy
generation from nuclear fusion in the future.
Five of the instruments were built in India, while the other six were the
result of cooperation with Europe and the United States.
The remote-sensing satellite will create a detailed three-dimensional map of
the Moon's surface and investigate its chemical composition. The primary
goal is the discovery of water, along with magnesium, aluminum, silicon and
titanium, and the radioactive elements radon, uranium and thorium.
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