The successful landing of the Moon Impact Probe on the lunar surface has not only boosted the confidence of Indian Space Research Organisation to undertake inter-planetary travel in future, but also conveyed a firm message to the world that India means business in the field of space, ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair said in Bengaluru on Friday.
"The landing of the Moon Impact Probe and the Chandrayaan-I mission has validated many of our assumptions and many of the principles involved in interplanetary travel.It's really a big boon for ISRO. We can now take up travel to any other planet with confidence," a jubilant Nair told PTI in an interview, a day after the historic event.
Last night, the Indian space programme achieved a unique feat with the placing of the Indian tricolour on the Moon's surface. The Indian flag was painted on the sides of MIP, one of 11 payloads of Chandrayaan-I spacecraft that successfully hit the lunar surface at 20:31 hrs. This is the first Indian built object to reach the surface of the Moon.
"I am extremely happy that the nation has responded very positively to this event (MIP landing and Chandrayaan-I)", Nair, also the Secretary in the Department of Space, said.
ISRO officials said Chandrayaan-I was a coup of sorts in the branding stakes and ISRO's brand has skyrocketed with India's first unmanned Moon mission.
"ISRO's name has been high all the time. This is another significant event. I am sure in the global community, we will have much more respect than what was (there) in the past", he said.
The Chandrayaan-I mission has sent a clear signal internationally that India is really a space power and it means business. "That message has been given to everybody," Nair said.
Now that Chandrayaan-I is set for the normal phase of its two-year mission, ISRO's immediate priority is on Aditya (to study the outermost region of sun called corona), Astrosat (an astronomy satellite to be launched next year), Oceansat (which looks at the ocean very closely), radar imaging satellite and indigenous cryogenic stages.
Asked if Team Chandrayaan-I would be rewarded with some kind of incentives, the ISRO chairman said he personally would like to do that, but noted that there is a process that has to be gone through. "I have to work out something with the government."
Nair also indicated that ISRO and Russia's Federal Space Agency, Roskosmos are expected to finalise exact sharing of work on Chandrayaan-II , slated to be launched by 2012, in December this year.
"I expect a team of Roskosmos led by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to come here (India) in beginning of December...There is broad understanding between the two space agencies...Now we are working out exact details of Chandrayaan-II," Nair said.
Chandrayaan-II is a joint lunar mission involving a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a Lander/Rover on the Moon's surface. ISRO will have prime responsibility for the Orbiter and Roskosmos will be responsible for the Lander/Rover.
Chandrayaan-II will be launched on India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Nair said Chandrayaan-I project director Mayilsamy Annadurai will continue in that position for Chandrayaan-II as well.
On the steps taken to protect India's assets in space, he said: "I think they are fairly safe. We have got all types of coded systems on board and I don't think anybody can intrude into our systems easily."