Chandrayaan-1 sends first pictures of earth

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Bangalore, Nov 1: Signs of India's moon mission, Chandrayaan-1 being on track. Chandrayaan-1 beams back its first pictures of earth that were taken on Wednesday, Oct 29 by the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) on board the spacecraft after it was switched on. The first image taken by the TMC at 8 am on Wednesday, Oct 29 from a height of 9,000 km shows the northern coast of Australia. The second image, taken at 12.30 pm from a height of 70,000 km, shows Australia's southern coast. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Friday, Oct 31 afternoon and briefed him on the lunar mission launched on Wednesday, Oct 22. PM was shown the first pictures on Friday, Oct 31 sent by India's maiden unmanned scientific mission to Moon.
Nair showed Singh the first pictures taken by the TMC, one of the 11 payloads on Chandrayaan, depicting the northern and southern coasts of Australia. During the meeting, Singh expressed happiness on the significant milestone in space programme and congratulated Nair and his team for the successful mission.

The TMC was successfully operated on Wednesday, Oct 29 through a series of commands issued from the Spacecraft Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Bangalore. The Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu on the outskirts of Bangalore received the first images which were processed by Indian Space Science Data Centre. "The images confirm excellent performance of the camera," a top ISRO official said.

Nair briefed Singh about the launch sequence and subsequent maneuvering of the spacecraft to reach the final lunar orbit. The health of the spacecraft is good and all operations so far have been implemented as planned, he said.

Meanwhile, Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who holds the Moon mission close to his heart, on Saturday, Nov 1, expressed happiness over the first photographs of Earth taken by the terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan-1.

Kalam, who has been closely associated with the country's space programmes, said that he had seen the first pictures of the Earth, shown to him by ISRO chief Madhavan Nair. "They are good pictures. They are high-resolution pictures," he said on the sidelines of a function organised to mark the launch of an emergency response service in Karnataka.

The photographs, he said, "are indicative of what things hold for us in future." On the moon mission, he said, "every Indian should be proud about the success of the mission." The terrain mapping camera on board India's first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan took black and white shots of the Earth from deep space.

The camera was operated through a series of commands from the spacecraft control center of ISRO's telemetry tracking and command network in Bangalore. The first imagery was taken from an altitude of 9,000 km above the Earth and second from 70,000 km.

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