India's moon probe Chandrayaan-1 doing well, sending back images

Monday, November 03, 2008

Not of the Moon yet because it's not there yet, but of the Earth:

It may be recalled that the 1380 kg Chandrayaan-1 was successfully launched into an initial elliptical orbit around the Earth by PSLV-C11 on October 22, 2008. This was followed by four orbit raising manoeuvres, which together raised Chandrayaan-1's orbit to a much higher altitude. The spacecraft is now circling the Earth in an orbit whose apogee (farthest point to Earth) lies at 267,000 km (Two lakh sixty seven thousand km) and perigee (nearest point to Earth) at 465 km. In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 takes about six days to go round the Earth once. The spacecraft performance is being continuously monitored and is normal.

Wikipedia also has the following on the arrival time at the Moon and the mission so far:

Once in GTO, Chandrayaan's on-board motor will be fired to increase its orbit around the earth. The orbit will be raised five times till it reaches 1,019 km perigee and 386,194 km apogee from the Earth on 8 November. This orbit will take the spacecraft to the vicinity of the moon. The spacecraft will rotate for about five-and-a-half days before firing the engine to slow its velocity for moon's gravity to capture it. As the spacecraft approaches the moon, its speed will be reduced to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit. A series of engine burns will then lower its orbit to its intended 100 km circular polar orbit. Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) will be ejected from Chandrayaan-1 and all the scientific instruments/payloads are commissioned.

Chandrayaan-1 completed four orbits around the Earth, on 23 October: "The health of the spacecraft is normal and (it is) doing fine. Spinning in elliptical orbit once in every 6 hours and 30 minutes, it has completed four orbits and is in the fifth orbit."


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