Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 truly home

Chandrayaan-1 has reached its destination. The Indian spacecraft is now orbiting the moon over its poles at an altitude of about 100 km. M. Annadurai, Project Director, said on Wednesday evening: “The entire team is very happy that in three weeks from the launch on October 22, we could safely send Chandrayaan-1 to the moon without any hiccups.” The Moon is 3,84,000 km from the Earth.S.K. Shivakumar, Director, ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore, called it “a fulfilling mission.” “We were given the job of sending a spacecraft to the moon. We have realised the mission.”
The spacecraft reached its final home after commands were radioed at 6.33 p.m. from the Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC), nerve-centre of the current operations at ISTRAC, to Chandrayaan-1’s engine, Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM), to fire.The engine fired for 58 seconds and Chandrayaan-1’s aposelene (the farthest distance from the moon) was reduced from 255 km to about 100 km. On Tuesday, its periselene was reduced from 187 to about 100 km. Thus, after the last orbit reduction on Wednesday evening, Chandrayaan-1 was truly home.11 instruments Chandrayaan-1 has 11 scientific instruments — five from India and six from abroad. Since Chandrayaan-1 is a remote-sensing spacecraft, it will help in identifying minerals and chemicals on the Moon. It will also look for the possible presence of water ice in the Moon’s Polar Regions. Its Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), built by India, will help in preparing a three-dimensional atlas of the entire surface of the Moon.As the spacecraft has reached its destination now, Mr. Annadurai said: “All activities lined up to commission the scientific instruments will start one after another.” One of them, Moon Impact Probe (MIP), will be commanded on Friday to eject from the mother-spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 and it will crash on the Moon’s surface. Of the remaining 10 instruments, the TMC has already been switched on and it has taken pictures of both the Earth and the Moon. Radiation Dose Monitor, an instrument from Bulgaria, to measure the radiation in the Moon’s atmosphere, has also been activated.“By the end of this month, we will be able to commission all the instruments,” Mr. Annadurai said.


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