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ISRO gears up for further probes on the moon
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | November 15, 2008 21:37 IST
Last Updated: November 15, 2008 21:38 IST
The Indian Space Research Organisation is gearing up to turn on several probes, a day after the box carrying the Moon [Images] Impact Probe, armed with the tricolour, crash-landed on the lunar surface to mark India's presence on the moon.
Scientists at ISRO told rediff.com that the groundwork to detach eight other payloads from Chandrayaan-1, in order to conduct further studies on the moon, was underway.
The ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network, which performs the important task of receiving the signals transmitted by the spacecraft, is also analysing the images and data sent by the MIP.
Director of ISRO Satellite Centre T A Alex said that they are getting ready to switch on the remaining payloads on board the spacecraft though there is no pre-determined order to release the payloads from the spacecraft.
The Hyper spectral Imager and the Lunar Laser Ranger Instrument will be released on Sunday, followed by the High Energy X-ray Spectrometer and other payloads in the next few days, according to Alex.
The HySI, which is equipped with the CCD camera, is designed for mapping minerals on the lunar surface and understanding the mineralogical composition of the moon's interior regions.
The Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument provides necessary data for accurately determining the height of lunar surface features. Both the payloads have been developed ingeniously.
Two payloads, apart from the MIP, are already functioning. The Terrain Mapping Camera and Radiation Dose Monitor were switched on before the spacecraft entered the lunar orbit.
Alex added that the moon rise has been late in the last few days. "Critical commands are executed during moon rise as the moon faces the nation and we can send commands from our own control centres. During moon set, the Chandrayaan I is tracked with the help of stations which are set up on foreign soil, including Australia [Images] and United States," he said.
The Journey to the Moon:
October 23: The spacecraft's first orbit raising manoeuvre performed at 9 am, Chandaryaan-1's apogee is raised to 37,900 km.
October 25: Second orbit raising manoeuvre carried out at 5.48 am, with the spacecrafts apogee raised to 74,715 km.
October 29: Fourth orbit raising manoeuvre carried out at 7.38 am. Chandrayaan-1 enters into a more elliptical orbit whose apogee lies at 267,000 km.
October 29: Terrain Mapping Camera onboard the spacecraft was successfully operated as it captures two images -- at 8 am and 12.30 pm -- of Australia's northern and southern coast respectively.
November 4: Fifth and final orbit raising manoeuvre successfully carried out at 4.56 am. Chandrayaan-1 enters Lunar Transfer Trajectory with an apogee of about 380,000 km.
November 8: Chandaryaan-1 accomplishes its most complex manoeuvre, 'linar orbit insertion', at 5.51 pm to enter the lunar orbit.
November 9: The spacecraft's first orbit intersection performed at 8.03 pm -- the nearest point of Chandrayaan-1's orbit (periselene) from the moon's surface is reduced from 504 km to 200 km.
November 10: The spacecraft moves to 187 km from the moon.
November 11: Chandrayaan-1 moves into an orbit of 102-km periselene.
November 12: The spacecraft is placed in the final lunar orbit of 100 km.
November 14: The Moon Impact Probe successfully hits the lunar surface at 8.31 pm. The MIP becomes the first Indian built object to reach the surface of the moon.
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