Sriharikota: Chandrayaan-1, India’s maiden moon spacecraft, was on Wednesday put into Transfer Orbit around the earth by the Polar Launch Vehicle PSLV-C11 about 19 minutes after it blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here.
Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) home-grown rocket PSLV-C11 lifted off at 6:22am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here taking the spacecraft beyond the thick dark cloud cover over this coastal town.
The 1,380 kg Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was released into a Tansfer Orbit at a perigee (nearest point to earth) of about 250 km and apogee (farthest point from the earth ) of about 23,000 km, 18.2 minutes after the PSLV-C11 blasted off as the scientists broke into jubiliation at the mission control centre.
After a series of procedures over the next two weeks, the spacecraft would reach its desired Lunar orbit and placed at a height of 100 km from the Lunar surface, marking the operational phase of the mission which would put India in the elite lunar club.
Earlier, at the end of the 49-hour countdown, the 44.4 meter tall four-stage PSLV-11 lifted off from the second launch pad into a cloudy sky.
This is the 14th flight of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV, which had launched 29 satellites into a variety of orbits since 1993, and 13th successive one in a row.
Chandrayaan-1 is carrying 11 payloads, five entirely designed and developed in India, three from European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from US, which would explore the Moon over the next two years.
India becomes the sixth nation, after the US, Russia, European Space Agency, China and Japan, to send a mission to the moon.
About 18.2 minutes later, ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair declared the launch successful which sent over a 1000 space scientists into a bout of jubiliation.
“The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the earth orbit.
“With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit,” Nair said.
Chandrayaan-I is carrying an Indian flag which will be placed on the lunar surface when the Moon Impactor Probe lands on the moon during the course of the two-year mission.
Task before Chandrayaan-1
Chandrayaan-1 aims at achieving expansion of scientific knowledge about Moon, upgradation of Indian technological capability and providing challenging opportunities for planetary research to young scientists.
The objectives would be achieved through high-resolution remote sensing of moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and x-ray region of electromagnetic spectrum.
The eleven payloads, would expand various scientific knowledge about the moon.
The Indian payloads included Terrain Mapping Camera, Hyperspectral Imager, Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument, High Energy X-ray Spectrometer and Moon Impact Probe.
Chandrayaan-1 was built at ISRO’s Satellite Centre, Bangalore, with contribution from various wings of the space agency, including the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
The ground facilities of Chandrayaan-I would perform the highly important task of receiving the microwave containing the health information of the spacecraft as well as the valuable scientific information, which the spacecraft sends.
It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during all the phases of its mission.
New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil congratulated ISRO scientists on the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, calling it a “landmark day” for the country.
Patil, who is on a tour of North-eastern states, said India should aim at sending Indian astronauts to space in an Indian space capsule.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also hailed the successful launch of Chandrayaan-I as the “first step” in a historic milestone in India’s space programme.
Singh, who is on an official visit to Japan, called up G Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Department of Space and congratulated him and his team of scientists for the successful launch.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani also hailed the efforts of Indian space scientists over the successful launch.
The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha noted that the then NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had in 2003 sanctioned the project.