INDIA’S FIRST MISSION TO MOON

Published On: 19th February, 2024

Authored By: Arohi
Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune

On October 22, 2008, India’s first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, was successfully launched from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. In 1999, at a conference of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the concept of an Indian research trip to the Moon was initially proposed. The concept was furthered in 2000 by the Astronautical Society of India (ASI). In April 2003, the Task Force’s decision to send an Indian probe to the Moon was considered and accepted by more than 100 eminent and renowned Indian scientists working in different domains such as physics, astronomy, space sciences, etc. The spacecraft was mapping the Moon’s composition, minerals, and photo geology while it was in orbit 100 kilometers above the lunar surface. Eleven scientific instruments manufactured in Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria, the USA, the UK, and India were carried by the spacecraft.  The then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Chandrayaan-1 project in November 2003.

On November 12, 2008, the spacecraft executed a series of five Earth-bound maneuvers (EBNs), one trajectory correction maneuver (TCM), and four Lunar bound maneuvers (LBNs) to place it into the Moon’s polar, round orbit, which is approximately 100 x 100 km. On October 22, 2008, at 08:22 UTC, the launch vehicle PSLV-C11 placed the spacecraft into a geo-transfer orbit. From there, it was transferred to extended transfer orbits and ultimately to a lunar transfer trajectory. The spacecraft was eventually positioned in the lunar. The approximate cost of the project was ₹386 crore.
In an interview, Srinivasa Hegde, the mission director of Chandrayaan-1, said that Dr. K. Kasturirangan was instrumental in the expedition’s beginning. From 1994 until 2003, Kasturirangan served as the chair of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and he desired that ISRO have a minor part in India’s aspirations to become a superpower. This sowed the seeds for bigger missions to be undertaken. The notion of a Moon orbiter was proposed and enthusiastically embraced by all. ISRO already had satellites built for geostationary orbit at the time that were capable of holding large amounts of fuel. The entire essential infrastructure was in place; the only thing that needed to be changed was to modify a geostationary satellite for the Moon. According to preliminary estimates, India’s PSLV rocket might deliver a spacecraft into an Earth-bound orbit that would allow it to use its fuel to travel to the Moon and execute orbital capture. Overall, ISRO’s capabilities were logically expanded by Chandrayaan-1.

Objectives:

A few of the objectives of the mission were –

  1. to create, produce, launch, and orbit a spacecraft around the Moon with a launch vehicle manufactured in India
  2. to broaden our understanding of science and technology
  3. to use equipment in scientific experimentation made in India
  4. to investigate the Moon’s surface using a sub-satellite (Moon Impact Probe, or MIP) as a prototype for upcoming soft-landing missions

Goals:

A few of the goals of the mission include –

  1. to look for lunar water ice, either above or below the surface, particularly around the poles
  2. Chemical identification of rocks from the lunar highlands
  3. The perpetual shadowing of the north and south polar regions using high-resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging
  4. Charting the change in height of lunar surface characteristics
  5. X-ray spectrum observation above 10 keV and stereographic coverage of the majority of the Moon’s surface at a resolution of 5 m (16 ft)
  6. Offering novel perspectives on the genesis and development of the Moon

Chandrayaan 1 discovered water on the moon – When ISRO was designing Chandrayaan-1, one of their main scientific goals was to find water on the moon. Global space organizations were eager to confirm the existence of water, ideally in sizable quantities, as this would have ramifications for both the Moon’s origin and future human settlements. After submitting a proposal, NASA was able to launch two of its water-hunting equipment on Chandrayaan-1.

Failure of Chandrayaan-1 –

After successfully finishing its operations for 312 days and accomplishing 95% of its stated goals, Chandrayaan-1 was eventually abandoned. Two years was the intended duration of the mission. The star tracking system aids in determining and preserving the spacecraft’s orientation. The radiation from the sun caused the star-tracking device to overheat and fail, which ultimately led to Chandrayaan-1’s premature demise. The spacecraft was left exposed to solar heat when Chandrayaan-1’s thermal protection failed. As ISRO was unable to communicate with the spacecraft, the mission came to an early end in August 2009. The mission studied the lunar surface, found evidence of water, and produced discoveries about the geology and history of the moon. Having been considered, Chandrayaan-1 was a successful mission.

Importance of Chandrayaan-1 –

  1. Chandrayaan-1 demonstrated India’s technological prowess in space exploration, showcasing technologies such as impact probes, high-resolution imagery, and lunar orbit insertion.
  2. Significant evidence of the existence of water ice in the lunar polar regions was found by the mission when it found water molecules on the Moon’s surface. Future attempts to colonize the moon may be affected by this discovery.
  3. India and other nations collaborated in space exploration through the use of many international payloads on Chandrayaan-1.
  4. The mission enhanced India’s standing in the international space community and served as an inspiration to a new generation of Indian scientists and engineers.
  5. In India, Chandrayaan-1 stimulated interest in space science and technology and inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers.
  6. Chandrayaan-1’s successful launch and operation increased pride and unity in the country. It promoted a sense of pride and identity among its residents, despite their regional or cultural diversity, by showcasing India’s scientific and technological might.

Conclusion:

Even with the communication breakdown, Chandrayaan-1 gave us useful information and made a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the Moon. It made important advancements in lunar exploration technology and assisted in confirming the presence of water molecules on the Moon’s surface. With the help of Chandrayaan-1, scientists were able to obtain vital information about the geography, mineralogy, and exosphere of the Moon. The mission’s results cleared the path for India’s upcoming space exploration projects while also providing important information to the world scientific community. Despite ending earlier than expected, the mission had a significant impact on India’s lunar exploration and space program.

References:

https://www.isro.gov.in

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/chandrayaan-1-moon-impact-probe-8905874/lite/

https://www.planetary.org/space-missions/chandrayaan-1

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-1#:~:text=As%20planned%2C%20the%20Moon%20Impact,the%20surface%20of%20the%20Moon

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