Today is a Red Letter day for ISRO: Madhavan Nair

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Bangalore, Oct 25 (UNI) Following successful manoeuvre of driving Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, the country's first unmanned mission to the moon, beyond the Earth's orbit, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair today said it denoted a Red Letter Day in the history of the country's space organization.

In the second orbit raising exercise, the ISRO scientists today fired the onboard motors on the 1380-kg cuboid shaped spacecraft to move it to an orbit of 332 km perigee and 74,705 km apogee from yesterday's orbit of 305 km and 37,900 km, respectively to move it closer to the moon's orbit.

Speaking to reporters at a function where Karnataka Government honoured the top ISRO scientists for the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, at the Indian Deep Space Network (DSN) at Bylalu, about 35 km from the city, he said an Indian satellite had so far only reached the maximum earth's orbit of 36,000 and today Chandrayaan-1 went well beyond what the earlier satellites had reached so far.

So it was a major event for ISRO and the maneuvering of driving the spacecraft went precisely, he added.

''Our mothers and grand mothers used to promise that they would bring the moon to us. Today we (ISRO) want to promise the country the same thing. Though we are not taking India to the moon, we are actually going to bring it here,'' Mr Nair said.

He said after today's maneuver, things would become difficult as the spacecraft went further and further away from the earth.

Influence of moon and sun would become predominant and even other planets would also have some effect, he said.

''These disturbances had to be modeled and then we have to accordingly modify the firing on the onboard motors. Tomorrow morning we will have another (third) firing of the motors and later two more small firings. Towards the end we are going to be very careful as we do not want to make even a slightest mistake,'' he added.

Congratulating the ISRO scientists for their achievement of putting the country among the select band, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the 21st century was rightly called the Indian century and the scientists from ISRO were helping the country in making a giant strides in the space technology.

''I am thrilled at the success of Chandrayaan-1. With the successful launch of India's first Moon mission, you have really shown the world the real prowess of the Indian scientific community,'' he said.

Quoting US Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama, the Chief Minister said this mission had made the leader to openly acknowledge the supremacy of India's scientific community.

Mr Obama seeking India to become the US' strategic partner is no ordinary statement,'' he added.

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