Sriharikota, Oct 22: Chandrayaan-1, India's first unmanned moon mission, was launched from the Satish Dhavan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, Oct 22 exactly at 06:22 hrs IST. The four staged Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) took off India's maiden moon mission. With the launch of Chandrayaan-1, India becomes the sixth nation to send an unmanned mission to the moon.
Reports say that PSLV started to move into its designated orbit within minutes, to sling Chandrayaan into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), as scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) cheered on. From the GTO the satellite's onboard liquid apogee motor (LAM) will be fired to take it to the lunar orbit which is 387,000 km away from earth around Nov 8. Weather conditions did not hamper the launch of the vehicle. The speed of Chandrayaan will be reduced once it approaches moon to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit.
After that Chandrayaan will drop its Moon Impact Probe (MIP) which will land on the moon's soil carrying India's flag, among many scientific instruments. Then the spacecraft will also activate its cameras and other instruments on board.
ISRO chariman Madhavan Nair described the moment as 'historic' soon after the launch of Chandrayaan-1.
"India has started its journey to the moon. The first leg has gone perfectly. The spacecraft has been launched into orbit," he said.The scientists in ISRO said that the launch was perfect and and there was zero error during the four of its phases.
The principal objective of the two year moon mission of Chandrayaan is to look for Helium 3, which is an isotope, very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future as per the scientific beliefs. It is presumed to be abundant on the moon, but still rare and very difficult to extract.
The Rs 386-crore mission is also expected to carry out a detailed survey of the moon to look for precious metals and water.
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.