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The technical capabilities acquired by India and the enthusiasm of modern Indian scientists in exploring the Moon, prompted ISRO to undertake – Chandrayaan – 1, India’s first mission to the Moon. The primary objectives of the mission are to expand knowledge about the origin and evolution of the Moon, further upgrade India’s technological capabilities and provide challenging opportunities to the young scientists working in planetary sciences.
The idea of an Indian mission to the Moon was initially mooted in a meeting of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1999 that was followed up by discussions n the Astronautical Society of India in 2000. Based on the recommendations made by these forums, a National Lunar Missions Task Force was constituted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with leading scientists and technologists from all over the country for considering and making an assessment of the possible configuration and feasibility of taking up an Indian Mission to the Moon.
Approach to Realisation of Chandrayaan-1
PSLV-C11, chosen to launch Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, was an uprated version of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle standard configuration. PSLV-C11 would place the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a highly elliptical Transfer Orbit (TO) around the earth. Later, through a series of highly complex manoeuvres, the desired trajectories will be achieved. After circling the Earth in its Transfer Orbit, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will be taken into more elliptical ‘Extended Transfer Orbits’ by repeatedly firing its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in a pr-determined sequence. Subsequently, the LAM is again fired to make the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of the moon
The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-1 are:
- To place an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon
- To conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the lunar surface
- To upgrade the technological base in the country Chandrayaan-1 aims to achieve these well-defined objectives through high-resolution remote sensing of moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical and mineralogical mapping of entire lunar surface is envisaged.
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