India's First Mission to the Moon Unveiled!
According to the Indian space agency, India's first mission to the moon is to be launched sometime around October 22-26, 2008 from the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It will be lofted up using the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO) workhorse rocket the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the mission is likely to cost Rupees 386 crores. Chandrayaan-I is an unmanned scientific mission designed to map the resources of the moon and would undertake the most intense search for water on the moon surface.
Apart from conducting tests on the surface of the moon, the mission also intends to conduct tests on the poles of the moon. Scientists are planning to land a rover on the moon to carry out chemical analysis of the lunar surface.
Dr Alex further pointed out that the technology used for the Chandrayan mission is ten times better than other countries. Moreover, ISRO excels in remote sensing and imaging and hence the moon can be photographed from a close range of five metres from the ground
Currently, Chandrayan is going through crucial tests in Bengaluru. It still has to undergo the vibration and acoustic tests.
The spacecraft will be subject to heavy vibration first and then the sound of four jet planes will be put together to check its endurance.
Chandrayan could provide important leads on the possibility of human habitation on the moon, said Dr Anna Durai.
ISRO recently established a 32-meter diameter antenna at Byalalu near Bengaluru to provide tracking and command support for Chandrayaan-I.
The antenna and associated systems are the first steps in building the Indian Deep Space Network, which is vital for facilitating a two-way radio communication link between the spacecraft and the earth.