发信人: ZZGR (闲逛), 信区: Aviation
标 题: India Celebrates Launch of First Moon Probe
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Fri Oct 24 13:57:10 2008)
By Peter B. de Selding
Space News Staff Writer
posted: 22 October 2008
11:11 a.m. ET
PARIS - India's first space mission beyond Earth orbit was launched
successfully Wednesday (Local Time) when an upgraded version of India's
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) placed the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter
into an elliptical transfer orbit, the Indian Space Research Organization (
The 3,042-pound (1,380-kg) Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 experiments including
three from the European Space Agency, two from NASA and one from Bulgaria,
is expected to fire its onboard liquid motor in a series of maneuvers
intended to place it into a 62-mile (100-km) altitude orbit above the Moon's
surface by Nov. 8.
In addition to 11 instruments designed to map the lunar surface and
determine its mineral content, the satellite includes the small Moon Impact
Probe, which will be jettisoned from the satellite to land on the lunar
surface before the main mapping mission begins. The probe will give ISRO
scientists experience to be used in subsequent lunar landing missions.
In its 14th launch since 1993, the four-stage PSLV rocket lifted off early
Oct. 22 from India's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, placing
Chandrayaan-1 into an elliptical orbit with a perigee of 158 miles (255 km)
and an apogee of 14,204 miles (22,860 km).
The satellite's liquid-fueled apogee motor is expected to raise the orbit in
a series of five firings to bring Chandrayaan-1 closer to lunar orbit. The
last of the engine ignitions is expected to place the satellite in an Earth
orbit of 633 miles (1,019 km) by 239,969 miles (386,194 km).
Once in lunar orbit, four more firings of the engine will lower Chandrayaan-
1 gradually into its operational orbit of 62 miles (100 km) over the lunar
surface, where it is expected to gather data for two years.
Chandrayaan-1 includes two U.S.-built instruments provided as part of a
cooperation accord between ISRO and NASA. NASA's willingness to permit U.S.
instruments to be launched aboard an Indian rocket is part of what appears
to be a slow warming of relations between the two agencies following an
embargo on space cooperation that the U.S. government applied following
India's nuclear weapon tests.
The new cooperative atmosphere could lead to more U.S. satellites being
launched aboard Indian rockets, according to government officials in India
and the United States.
Several nations are targeting the Moon as a principal exploration
destination and are involved in national and multinational discussions about
establishing a full-time manned presence on the Moon. Japan and China both
have satellites in lunar orbit.
The European Space Agency, whose lunar orbiter was retired in 2006, is
weighing future lunar missions. The United States, whose Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled for launch in early 2009, has said it
wants to establish a lunar colony before sending astronauts to other
destinations, including Mars.
ISRO and the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, in November 2007 signed a
cooperation accord for a Chandrayaan-2 mission that would include a lunar
orbiter, a lander and rover vehicle. ISRO would have prime responsibility
for the orbiter, with Roskosmos leading development of the lander and rover
Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled for launch by 2012 aboard India's Geosynchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle.
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