ISRO says Chandrayaan-I progressing smoothly towards Moon

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Bangalore, Oct 25 : ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair has said that Chandrayaan-1 has covered 20 percent of its journey towards moon as scientists on Saturday performed the second orbit-raising manoeuvre.

"So far, Indian-made satellites have reached to a height of only 36,000 km. Today's firing has taken Chandrayaan-1 to something like 75,000 km. That's well beyond what we have reached so far. It was a good event, and done precisely," Nair, also secretary in the Department of Space, said.

Indicating the complexity of the India's first unmanned lunar mission, he said when the spacecraft is closer to the earth, its gravitational field is well defined and scientists can shape the trajectory.

"When you go further and further, earth's influence comes down. Influence of Moon and Sun becomes predominant. Even other planets will have an influence on it," he said.

The lunar spacecraft's on-board 440 Newton Liquid engine was fired for about 16 minutes from 5.48 a.m.

With this engine firing, Chandrayaan-1's apogee (farthest point to earth) has been raised to 74,715 km, while its perigee (closest point to earth) has been raised to 336 km, ISRO spokesperson S Satish said.

Moon lies at a distance of about 3,84,000 km from earth.

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