Chandrayaan-1 launch a 'historic milestone': PM

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Tokyo, Oct 22: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden moon mission is a 'historic milestone' and it marked the first step in nation's space programme. Prime Minister, who is presently on an official visit to Japan, congratulated all the scientists associated with this mission for the successful completion of the first step.

"When completed, the mission will put India in the very small group of six countries which have thus far sent space missions to the moon. Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them," Mahmohan Singh said.

He said that all the launch vehicle systems performed satisfactorily and the spacecraft has been successfully placed in an orbit around the earth. "This is the beginning of a two week long effort in which our scientists will now manoeuvre the spacecraft into expanding orbits around the earth before finally shifting it to an orbit around the moon", he further added.

Gallery: Launch of Chandrayaan-1
Video: India launches first unmanned moon mission

Chandrayaan-1 was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) using a modified Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota on Wednesday, Oct 22 early morning. ISRO chairman Dr G Madhavan Nair described it as a 'historic' moment for India.

Which the launch of Chandrayaan-1 India joined the elite lunar club comprising Russia, US, Japan, China and European Space Agency, who had undertaken unmanned exploratory missions to the moon.

The mission intends to put an unmanned spacecraft into an orbit around the moon and to perform remote sensing of the nearest celestial neighbour for about two years with eleven payloads.

It would reach the moon surface after five and half days. Later, the moon impact probe would be ejected from Chandrayaan-1 to hit the moon surface in a chosen area.

India believes the Rs 386-crore lunar mission is a step towards its quest for exploration of outer space and inter-planetary missions.

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