Nov 6, 2008

India is Heading to The Moon!

On Tuesday, the first Indian mission to the Moon, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, finished it's 5 ever-expanding loops around the earth and fired it's rocket thrusters for a 2.5 minute burn, taking it directly into the path towards Lunar orbit. The image below shows the various orbits the spacecraft took. (Click to enlarge)

Chandrayaan-1 is now on it's way to a rendezvous with the Moon, which it will reach on November the 8th. Once it does that, the engine will be run again to slow it down and achieve what scientists call "lunar orbit insertion." Once this happens the Moon's gravity will slow the spacecraft down and keep it in an elliptical orbit. Several tricky maneuvers will slow it down further until it settles into a circular orbit, 100 kilometers above the surface of the Moon.
The spacecraft is being monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore, India. This is the ISRO's first spacecraft to travel away from Earth orbit.
-FUPPETS- wants to see the entire world, or at least those nations wealthy and educated enough to do so, involved in the exploration of space and the development of better equipment to achieve these goals.

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