Chennai, Oct 26: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday, Oct 26 attained a major milestone when Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched from Sriharikota on Oct 22, entered deep space after crossing the 150,000 km distance mark from the Earth.
ISRO told the sources that this happened after the successful completion of the spacecraft's third orbit raising manoeuvre this morning. This was for the first time in India's nearly 45 year-old space history that a spacecraft reached the deep space orbit. It was a Red Letter day for ISRO on Saturday, Oct 25 when Chandrayaan-I, the country's first unmanned lunar exploratory mission, went beyond the earth's orbit at an apogee of 75,000 km. Today it marked yet another achievement as it went into deep space orbit crossing past 150,000 km from earth. ''With this, we are confident that the Chandrayaan-I will reach the Lunar Orbit as per schedule on Nov 8'', the source said. During this manoeuvre which was initiated at 0708 hrs, the spacecraft's 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about nine-and-a half minutes.
Chandrayaan-1 has now entered a much higher elliptical orbit around the Earth. The apogee (farthest point to Earth) of this orbit lies at 164,600 km while the perigee (nearest point to Earth) was at 348 km.
In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 takes about 73 hours to go round the Earth once.
The antenna of the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore is playing a crucial role in tracking and communicating with Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in such a high orbit.
''The spacecraft's performance is normal. More orbit raising manoeuvres are planned in the coming few days to take Chandrayaan-1 towards the lunar Orbit'', the sources said.