சனி, டிசம்பர் 27, 2008

Chnadrayaan has propelled India to select nations in space tech

Indian moon mission Chnadrayaan has propelled India to the select league of the nations with expertise in space technology. India is only the second nation besides China from the third world to have successfully launched a moon mission.

The space club so far consisted of only United States, Russia, Japan and France. But India has made strides like no other country when it comes to space technology, and amazingly with a very small budget. 

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had a meager budget of Rs 380 crore for Chandrayaan-1. For similar moon missions, the budget of US and other countries was several times higher than that of ISRO.

Chandrayaan’s success has been a big scientific feat for a developing nation like India that has not received much scientific assistance from the west.


ISRO has already made it clear that the Indian lunar mission is not an exercise in reinventing the wheel. Chandrayaan-1 is striving to unravel the hitherto unknown features of the moon for the first time.

ISRO points out that a lunar mission can provide impetus to science in India, a challenge to technology and possibly a new dimension to international cooperation. Also on the agenda are the preparation of the three dimensional atlas of the regions on the moon and the chemical mapping of the entire lunar surface.

This is a dream for any nation. And India fulfilled its long cherished dream on 22nd October earlier this year. 

For India, which began its space journey in a modest way in 1963 with the launch of a 9-kilo rocket from a research facility at the fishing hamlet of Thumba in Kerala, the Chandrayaan-1 marks a quantum leap. 

The Project was announced on the occasion of 56th independence day of India by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission is aimed at high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared(NIR), low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions. Specifically the objectives is to prepare a three-dimensional atlas (with a high spatial and altitude resolution of 5-10m) of both near and far side of the moon.

Its objective is also to conduct chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface for distribution of elements such as Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Calcium, Iron and Titanium with a spatial resolution of about 25 km and high atomic number elements such as Radon, Uranium & Thorium with a spatial resolution of about 20 km.

It is hoped that simultaneous photo geological and chemical mapping will enable identification of different geological units, which will test the early evolutionary history of the moon and help in determining the nature and stratigraphy of the lunar crust.

India has seen numerous successes in the recent past with its space programs. On 28th April this year, India created history by launching ten satellites in one go, carrying a payload of 824 kg. India’s first fully commercial launch came on 23rd April when the Italian astronomical satellite, AGILE, was sent into space. On January 10th 2007, India launched the PSLV C-7 vehicle, injecting four satellites into orbit.

A partial chronology of ISRO

1963 - The first sounding rocket was launched Nov. 21 from TERLS.

1965 -Space Science & Technology Center (SSTC) was established in Thumba, Trivandrum.

1967 - Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station was erected at Ahmedabad.

1969 - Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was created on August 15 in the Department of Atomic Energy. Since then, ISRO has managed India's space research and the uses of space for peaceful purposes.

1972 - The government established the Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS) in June. DOS conducts the nation's space activities for ISRO at four space Centers across the country. DOS reports directly to the Prime Minister.

1972 - ISRO placed under DOS on June 1.

1975 - ISRO made a Government Org. on April 1.

1975 - Aryabhata, the first Indian space satellite, was launched for India on April 19.

1979 - Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations, launched on June 7.

1979 - The first experimental launch of an SLV-3 rocket on August 10 did not place its Rohini Technology Payload satellite in orbit.

1980 - India successfully launched its own Rohini-1 satellite on July 18 on a Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) rocket from the Sriharikota Island launch site.

1983 - The Rohini-3 communications satellite, launched in August, had by the end of 1985 extended nationwide television coverage from 20 percent to 70 percent of the population. Today it is about 90 percent.

1984 - The first Indian cosmonaut, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma became the 138th man in space when he spent eight days aboard the USSR's space station Salyut 7.

1992 - The Indian-built INSAT-2 geostationary communications and meteorological satellite superseded an American-built INSAT-1.

1993 - The even larger Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) debuted in September, but failed to attain orbit. Its individual elements were successful. PSLV can lift a one-ton satellite to a Sun-synchronous polar orbit.

2001 -- The first launch of a still larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket was successful on April 18.

2002- On 2nd September 1st MET Satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Srihorikota. It keeps continuous watch on weather through its high resolution Radiometer.

2003-The multipurpose, INSAT-3A was launched from   France on 10th April. A communication satellite weighing 1800 Kg was launched aboard the GSLV-D2 from Sriharikota on 8th May.

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