Chandrayaan-1 ‘Impact Probe’ lands on moon
The Chandrayaan-1 landed on the Moon at 8.31 pm on Friday, opening a new chapter in the history of India’s space exploration.
Watch: Chandrayaan-1 Impact Probe lands on moon
Other entities which have reached the Moon are the US, former Soviet Union, Japan (albeit via a malfunction that sent its orbiter crashing onto the lunar surface) and the European Space Agency (17 nations). India becomes the fifth member of this club.
The Chandrayaan-1 was painted on all sides of the 29 kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) which was attached to the top portion of the main lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan. The MIP is the brainchild of former President A P J Abdul Kalam who witnessed its separation from the main orbiting craft and its crashlanding 32 km from the Shackleton crater on the moon’s south pole from the mission control room at ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore.
ISRO officials told that the countdown for the MIP’s much-awaited flight to the surface of the Moon began at 7.47 pm.
It went off smoothly and at 8.01 pm the command was issued for it to separate from the orbiting spacecraft. The MIP began its flight towards the Moon’s south pole and after a 25-minute flight, crashlanded.
During its flight, its video camera took pictures of the Moon, the spectrometer began its analysis and the altitude meter did what is known as a ranging. While approaching the Moon, it slowed down slightly, then spun. While spinning, its three instruments went into action. When it was 5 km above the Moon’s surface, the altimeter did the ‘ranging of the Moon’. ‘‘All this while the atmosphere was pretty tense in the mission control room,’’ said a scientist.
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