Chandrayaan-1 (transl. Moon-craft, pronunciation )[4] was the first Indian lunar probe under Chandrayaan program. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. India launched the spacecraft using a PSLV-XL rocket, serial number C11,[2][5] on 22 October 2008 at 00:52 UTC from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh about 80 km (50 mi) north of Chennai.[6] The mission was a major boost to India's space program,[7] as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon.[8] The vehicle was inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008.[9]

On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 14:36 UTC and struck the south pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to place its flag insignia on the Moon.[10] The probe hit near the crater Shackleton at 15:01 UTC, ejecting sub-surface soil that could be analysed for the presence of lunar water ice.[11][12] The location of impact was named as Jawahar Point.[13]

The estimated cost for the project was 386 crore (US$56 million).[14]

The remote sensing lunar satellite had a mass of 1,380 kg (3,040 lb) at launch and 675 kg (1,488 lb) in lunar orbit.[15] It carried high resolution remote sensing equipment for visible, near infrared, and soft and hard X-ray frequencies. Over a two-year period, it was intended to survey the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography. The polar regions are of special interest as they might contain ice.[16] The lunar mission carried five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other space agencies including NASA, ESA, and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, which were carried free of cost.[17] Among its many achievements was the discovery of widespread presence of water molecules in lunar soil.[18][19]

After almost a year, the orbiter started suffering from several technical issues including failure of the star sensors and poor thermal shielding; Chandrayaan stopped sending radio signals about 20:00 UTC on 28 August 2009, shortly after which the ISRO officially declared the mission over. Chandrayaan operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95% of its planned objectives.[3][20][21][22]

On 2 July 2016, NASA used ground-based radar systems to relocate Chandrayaan-1 in its lunar orbit, more than seven years after it shut down.[23][24] Repeated observations over the next three months allowed a precise determination of its orbit which varies between 150 and 270 km (93 and 168 mi) in altitude every two years.[25]

CY1 2007 (cropped)
Mission typeLunar orbiter
OperatorIndian Space Research Organisation
COSPAR ID2008-052A
SATCAT no.33405
Mission durationPlanned: 2 years
Final: 10 months, 6 days
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass1,380 kg (3,040 lb)
Dry mass560 kg (1,230 lb)[1]
Payload mass105 kg (231 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date22 October 2008, 00:52 UTC
RocketPSLV-XL C11[2]
Launch siteSatish Dhawan Second Pad
End of mission
Last contact28 August 2009, 20:00 UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Semi-major axis1,758 kilometers (1,092 mi)
Periselene altitude200 km (120 mi)
Aposelene altitude200 km (120 mi)
Epoch19 May 2009
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertion8 November 2008
Orbits3,400 at EOM[3]


Prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Chandrayaan 1 project on course in his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2003.[26] The mission was a major boost to India's space program.[7] The idea of an Indian scientific mission to the Moon was first mooted in 1999 during a meeting of the Indian Academy of Sciences. The Astronautical Society of India (ASI) carried forward the idea in 2000. Soon after, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set up the National Lunar Mission Task Force which concluded that ISRO has the technical expertise to carry out an Indian mission to the Moon. In April 2003 over 100 eminent Indian scientists in the fields of planetary and space sciences, Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, astronomy, astrophysics, engineering and communication sciences discussed and approved the Task Force recommendation to launch an Indian probe to the Moon. Six months later, in November, the Indian government gave approval for the mission.[27][28]


The mission had the following stated objectives:[29]

  • to design, develop, launch and orbit a spacecraft around the Moon using an Indian-made launch-vehicle
  • to conduct scientific experiments using instruments on the spacecraft which would yield data:
    • for the preparation of a three-dimensional atlas (with high spatial and altitude resolution of 5–10 m or 16–33 ft) of both the near and far sides of the Moon
    • for chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface at high spatial resolution, mapping particularly the chemical elements magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, titanium, radon, uranium, and thorium
  • to increase scientific knowledge
  • to test the impact of a sub-satellite (Moon Impact Probe – MIP) on the surface of the Moon as a fore-runner for future soft-landing missions


In order to reach its objective, the mission defined these goals:

  • High-resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging of the permanently shadowed north- and south-polar regions
  • Searching for surface or sub-surface lunar water-ice, especially at the lunar poles
  • Identification of chemicals in lunar highland rocks
  • Chemical stratigraphy of the lunar crust by remote sensing of the central uplands of large lunar craters, and of the South Pole Aitken Region (SPAR), an expected site of interior material
  • Mapping the height variation of features of the lunar surface
  • Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10 keV and stereographic coverage of most of the Moon's surface with 5 m (16 ft) resolution
  • Providing new insights in understanding the Moon's origin and evolution


Diagram of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft
1,380 kg (3,042 lb) at launch, 675 kg (1,488 lb) at lunar orbit,[30] and 523 kg (1,153 lb) after releasing the impactor.
Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
X band, 0.7 m (2.3 ft) diameter dual gimballed parabolic antenna for payload data transmission. The Telemetry, Tracking & Command (TTC) communication operates in S band frequency.
The spacecraft was mainly powered by its solar array, which included one solar panel covering a total area of 2.15 × 1.8 m (7.1 × 5.9 ft) generating 750 W of peak power, which was stored in a 36 A·h lithium-ion battery for use during eclipses.[31]
The spacecraft used a bipropellant integrated propulsion system to reach lunar orbit as well as orbit and altitude maintenance while orbiting the Moon. The power plant consisted of one 440 N engine and eight 22 N thrusters. Fuel and oxidiser were stored in two tanks of 390 litres (100 US gal) each.[30][31]
Navigation and control
The craft was 3-axis stabilised with two star sensors, gyros and four reaction wheels. The craft carried dual redundant bus management units for attitude control, sensor processing, antenna orientation, etc.[30][31]


The scientific payload had a mass of 90 kg (198 lb) and contained five Indian instruments and six instruments from other countries.

Indian instruments

  • TMC or the Terrain Mapping Camera is a CMOS camera with 5 m (16 ft) resolution and a 40 km (25 mi) swath in the panchromatic band and was used to produce a high-resolution map of the Moon.[32] The aim of this instrument was to completely map the topography of the Moon. The camera works in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum and captures black and white stereo images. When used in conjunction with data from Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI), it can help in better understanding of the lunar gravitational field as well. TMC was built by the ISRO's Space Applications Centre (SAC) at Ahmedabad.[33] The TMC was tested on 29 October 2008 through a set of commands issued from ISTRAC.[34]
  • HySI or Hyper Spectral Imager is a CMOS camera, performed mineralogical mapping in the 400–900 nm band with a spectral resolution of 15 nm and a spatial resolution of 80 m (260 ft).
  • LLRI or Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument determines the height of the surface topography by sending pulses of infrared laser light towards the lunar surface and detecting the reflected portion of that light. It operated continuously and collected 10 measurements per second on both the day and night sides of the Moon. LLRI was developed by Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems of ISRO, Bangalore.[35] It was tested on 16 November 2008.[35][36]
  • HEX is a High Energy aj/gamma x-ray spectrometer for 30–200 keV measurements with ground resolution of 40 km (25 mi), the HEX measured U, Th, 210Pb, 222Rn degassing, and other radioactive elements.
  • MIP or the Moon Impact Probe developed by the ISRO, is an impact probe which consisted of a C-band Radar altimeter for measurement of altitude of the probe, a video imaging system for acquiring images of the lunar surface and a mass spectrometer for measuring the constituents of the lunar atmosphere.[37] It was ejected at 14:30 UTC on 14 November 2008. As planned, the Moon Impact Probe impacted the lunar south pole at 15:01 UTC on 14 November 2008. It carried with it a picture of the Indian flag. India is now the fourth nation to place a flag on the Moon after the Soviet Union, United States and Japan.

Instruments from other countries

Moon Mineralogy Mapper left
Moon Mineralogy Mapper left
SIR-2 Logo
SIR-2 Logo

Mission timeline

PSLV-C11 launch2
PSLV C11 carrying Chandrayaan-1

During the tenure Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chandrayan project got a boost and finally Chandrayaan-1 was launched on 22 October 2008 at 00:52 UTC from Satish Dhawan Space Centre using the ISRO's 44.4-metre (146 ft) tall, four-stage PSLV C11 launch vehicle.[49] Chandrayaan-1 was sent to the Moon in a series of orbit-increasing manoeuvres around the Earth over a period of 21 days as opposed to launching the craft on a direct trajectory to the Moon.[50] At launch the spacecraft was inserted into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) with an apogee of 22,860 km (14,200 mi) and a perigee of 255 km (158 mi). The apogee was increased with a series of five orbit burns conducted over a period of 13 days after launch.[50]

For the duration of the mission, ISRO's telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) at Peenya in Bangalore, tracked and controlled Chandrayaan-1.[51] Scientists from India, Europe, and the U.S. conducted a high-level review of Chandrayaan-1 on 29 January 2009 after the spacecraft completed its first 100 days in space.[52]

Earth orbit burns

Earth orbit burns
Date (UTC) Burn time
22 October
in four stages
22,860 km
23 October 18 37,900 km
25 October 16 74,715 km
26 October 9.5 164,600 km
29 October 3 267,000 km
4 November 2.5 380,000 km
First orbit burn

The first orbit-raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was performed at 03:30 UTC on 23 October 2008 when the spacecraft's 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about 18 minutes by commanding the spacecraft from Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya, Bangalore. With this Chandrayaan-1's apogee was raised to 37,900 km (23,500 mi), and its perigee to 305 km (190 mi). In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft took about 11 hours to go around the Earth once.[53]

Second orbit burn

The second orbit-raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was carried out on 25 October 2008 at 00:18 UTC when the spacecraft's engine was fired for about 16 minutes, raising its apogee to 74,715 km (46,426 mi), and its perigee to 336 km (209 mi), thus completing 20 percent of its journey. In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft took about twenty-five and a half hours to go round the Earth once. This is the first time an Indian spacecraft has gone beyond the 36,000 km (22,000 mi) high geostationary orbit and reached an altitude more than twice that height.[54]

Third orbit burn

The third orbit raising manoeuvre was initiated on 26 October 2008 at 01:38 UTC when the spacecraft's engine was fired for about nine and a half minutes. With this its apogee was raised to 164,600 km (102,300 mi), and the perigee to 348 km (216 mi). In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 took about 73 hours to go around the Earth once.[55]

Fourth orbit burn

The fourth orbit-raising manoeuvre took place on 29 October 2008 at 02:08 UTC when the spacecraft's engine was fired for about three minutes, raising its apogee to 267,000 km (166,000 mi) and the perigee to 465 km (289 mi). This extended its orbit to a distance more than half the way to the Moon. In this orbit, the spacecraft took about six days to go around the Earth once.[56]

Final orbit burn

The fifth and final orbit raising manoeuvre was carried out on 3 November 2008 at 23:26 UTC when the spacecraft's engine was fired for about two and a half minutes resulting in Chandrayaan-1 entering the Lunar Transfer Trajectory with an apogee of about 380,000 km (240,000 mi).[57]

Lunar orbit insertion

Lunar orbit insertion
Date (UTC) Burn time
8 November 817 504 km 7,502 km
9 November 57 200 km 7,502 km
10 November 866 187 km 255 km
11 November 31 101 km 255 km
12 November
Final orbit
100 km 100 km

Chandrayaan-1 completed the lunar orbit insertion operation on 8 November 2008 at 11:21 UTC. This manoeuvre involved firing of the liquid engine for 817 seconds (about thirteen and half minutes) when the spacecraft passed within 500 km (310 mi) from the Moon. The satellite was placed in an elliptical orbit that passed over the polar regions of the Moon, with 7,502 km (4,662 mi) aposelene and 504 km (313 mi) periselene. The orbital period was estimated to be around 11 hours. With the successful completion of this operation, India became the fifth nation to put a vehicle in lunar orbit.[9]

First orbit reduction

First Lunar Orbit Reduction Manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-1 was carried out on 9 November 2008 at 14:33 UTC. During this, the engine of the spacecraft was fired for about 57 seconds. This reduced the periselene to 200 km (124 mi) while aposelene remained unchanged at 7,502 km. In this elliptical orbit, Chandrayaan-1 took about ten and a half hours to circle the Moon once.[58]

Second orbit reduction

This manoeuvre was carried out on 10 November 2008 at 16:28 UTC, resulting in steep decrease in Chandrayaan-1's aposelene to 255 km (158 mi) and its periselene to 187 km (116 mi), During this manoeuvre, the engine was fired for about 866 seconds (about fourteen and a half minutes). Chandrayaan-1 took two hours and 16 minutes to go around the Moon once in this orbit.[59]

Third orbit reduction

Third Lunar Orbit Reduction was carried out by firing the onboard engine for 31 seconds on 11 November 2008 at 13:00 UTC. This reduced the periselene to 101 km (63 mi), while the aposelene remained constant at 255 km. In this orbit Chandrayaan-1 took two hours and 9 minutes to go around the Moon once.[60]

Final orbit

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was placed into a mission-specific lunar polar orbit of 100 km (62 mi) above the lunar surface on 12 November 2008.[61][62] In the final orbit reduction manoeuvre, Chandrayaan-1's aposelene and periselene were both reduced to 100 km.[62] In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 takes about two hours to go around the Moon once. Two of the 11 payloads—the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) and the Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM)—were switched on. The TMC acquired images of both the Earth and the Moon.[62]

Impact of the MIP on the lunar surface

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) crash-landed on the lunar surface on 14 November 2008, 15:01 UTC near the crater Shackleton at the south pole.[61] The MIP was one of eleven scientific instruments (payloads) on board Chandrayaan-1.[63]

The MIP separated from Chandrayaan at 100 km from lunar surface and began its nosedive at 14:36 UTC. going into free fall for thirty minutes.[61] As it fell, it kept sending information back to the mother satellite which, in turn, beamed the information back to Earth. The altimeter then also began recording measurements to prepare for a rover to land on the lunar surface during a second Moon mission.[64]

Following the deployment of the MIP, the other scientific instruments were turned on, starting the next phase of the mission.[63]

After scientific analyses of the received data from the MIP, the Indian Space Research Organisation confirmed the presence of water in the lunar soil and published the finding in a press conference addressed by its then Chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

Rise of spacecraft's temperature

ISRO had reported on 25 November 2008 that Chandrayaan-1's temperature had risen above normal to 50 °C (122 °F),[65] scientists said that it was caused by higher than normal temperatures in lunar orbit.[65] The temperature was brought down by about 10 °C (18 °F) by rotating the spacecraft about 20 degrees and switching off some of the instruments.[65] Subsequently, ISRO reported on 27 November 2008 that the spacecraft was operating under normal temperature conditions.[66] In subsequent reports ISRO says, since the spacecraft was still recording higher than normal temperatures, it would be running only one instrument at a time until January 2009 when lunar orbital temperature conditions are said to stabilize.[67] It was initially thought that the spacecraft was experiencing high temperature because of radiation from the Sun and infrared radiation reflected by the Moon.[68] However the rise in spacecraft temperature was later attributed to a batch of DC-DC converters with poor thermal regulation.[69][70]

Mapping of minerals

The mineral content on the lunar surface was mapped with the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a NASA instrument on board the orbiter. The presence of iron was reiterated and changes in rock and mineral composition have been identified. The Oriental Basin region of the Moon was mapped, and it indicates abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene.[71]

In 2018 it was announced that M3 infrared data had been re-analyzed to confirm the existence of water across wide expanses of the Moon's polar regions.[72]

Mapping of Apollo landing sites

ISRO announced in January 2009 the completion of the mapping of the Apollo Moon missions landing sites by the orbiter, using multiple payloads. Six of the sites have been mapped including landing sites of Apollo 15 and Apollo 17.[73]

Image acquisition

The craft completed 3,000 orbits acquiring 70,000 images of the lunar surface,[74][75][76] which is quite a record compared to the lunar flights of other nations. ISRO officials estimated that if more than 40,000 images have been transmitted by Chandrayaan's cameras in 75 days, it worked out to nearly 535 images being sent daily. They were first transmitted to Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore, from where they were flashed to ISRO's Telemetry Tracking And Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore.

Some of these images have a resolution of down to 5 metres (16 ft), providing a sharp and clear picture of the Moon's surface, while many images sent by some of the other missions had only a 100-metre resolution.[77]

On 26 November, the indigenous Terrain Mapping Camera, which was first activated on 29 October 2008, acquired images of peaks and craters. This came as a surprise to ISRO officials because the Moon consists mostly of craters.[78]

Detection of X-Ray signals

The X-ray signatures of aluminium, magnesium and silicon were picked up by the C1XS X-ray camera. The signals were picked up during a solar flare that caused an X-ray fluorescence phenomenon. The flare that caused the fluorescence was within the lowest C1XS sensitivity range.[79][80][81]

Full Earth image

On 25 March 2009 Chandrayaan beamed back its first images of the Earth in its entirety. These images were taken with the TMC. Previous imaging was done on only one part of the Earth. The new images show Asia, parts of Africa and Australia with India being in the center.[82][83]

Orbit raised to 200 km

After the completion of all the major mission objectives, the orbit of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which had been at a height of 100 km (62 mi) from the lunar surface since November 2008, was raised to 200 km (124 mi). The orbit raising manoeuvres were carried out between 03:30 and 04:30 UTC on 19 May 2009. The spacecraft in this higher altitude enabled further studies on orbit perturbations, gravitational field variation of the Moon and also enabled imaging lunar surface with a wider swath.[84] It was later revealed that the true reason for the orbit change was that it was an attempt to keep the temperature of the probe down.[85] It was "...assumed that the temperature [of the spacecraft subsystems] at 100 km above the Moon's surface would be around 75 degrees Celsius. However, it was more than 75 degrees and problems started to surface. We had to raise the orbit to 200 km."[86]

Attitude sensor failure

The star sensors, a device used for pointing attitude determination (orientation), failed in orbit after nine months of operation. Afterward, the orientation of Chandrayaan was determined using a back-up procedure using a two-axis Sun sensor and taking a bearing from an Earth station. This was used to update three axis gyroscopes which enabled spacecraft operations.[74][75][76] The second failure, detected on 16 May, was attributed to excessive radiation from the Sun.[87]

Radar scans

On 21 August 2009 Chandrayaan-1 along with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter attempted to perform a bistatic radar experiment using their Mini-SAR radars to detect the presence of water ice on the lunar surface.[88][89] The attempt was a failure; it turned out the Chandrayaan-1 radar was not pointed at the Moon during the experiment.[90]

The Mini-SAR has imaged many of the permanently shadowed regions that exist at both poles of the Moon.[91] On March 2010, it was reported that the Mini-SAR on board the Chandrayaan-1 had discovered more than 40 permanently darkened craters near the Moon's north pole which are hypothesized to contain an estimated 600 million metric tonnes of water-ice.[91][92] The radar's high CPR is not uniquely diagnostic of either roughness or ice; the science team must take into account the environment of the occurrences of high CPR signal to interpret its cause. The ice must be relatively pure and at least a couple of meters thick to give this signature.[91] The estimated amount of water ice potentially present is comparable to the quantity estimated from the previous mission of Lunar Prospector's neutron data.[91]

Although the results are consistent with recent findings of other NASA instruments onboard Chandrayaan-1 (the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (MP3) discovered water molecules in the Moon's polar regions, while water vapour was detected by NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS[91]) this observation is not consistent with the presence of thick deposits of nearly pure water ice within a few meters of the lunar surface, but it does not rule out the presence of small (<∼10 cm), discrete pieces of ice mixed in with the regolith.[93]

End of the mission

The mission was launched on 22 October 2008 and expected to operate for two years. However, around 20:00 UTC on 28 August 2009 communication with the spacecraft was suddenly lost. The probe had operated for 312 days. The craft had been expected to remain in orbit for approximately another 1000 days and to crash into the lunar surface in late 2012,[94] although in 2016 it was found to still be in orbit.[24]

A member of the science advisory board of Chandrayaan-1 said that it is difficult to ascertain reasons for the loss of contact.[95] ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said that due to very high radiation, power-supply units controlling both the computer systems on board failed, snapping the communication connectivity.[96] However, information released later showed that the power supply supplied by MDI failed due to overheating.[85][86][97]

Although the mission was less than 10 months in duration, and less than half the intended two years in length,[7][96][98] a review by scientists termed the mission successful, as it had completed 95% of its primary objectives.

Analysis of collected data

Chandrayaan's Moon Mineralogy Mapper has confirmed the magma ocean hypothesis, meaning that the Moon was once completely molten.[99]

The terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan-1, besides producing more than 70,000 three dimensional images, has recorded images of the landing site of U.S. spacecraft Apollo 15.[100][101]

TMC and HySI payloads of ISRO have covered about 70% of the lunar surface, while M3 covered more than 95% of the same and SIR-2 has provided high-resolution spectral data on the mineralogy of the Moon.

Indian Space Research Organisation said interesting data on lunar polar areas was provided by Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) and High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) of ISRO as well as Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini-SAR) of the USA.

LLRI covered both the lunar poles and additional lunar regions of interest, HEX made about 200 orbits over the lunar poles and Mini-SAR provided complete coverage of both North and South Polar Regions of the Moon.

Another ESA payload – Chandrayaan-1 imaging X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) – detected more than two dozen weak solar flares during the mission duration. The Bulgarian payload called Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM) was activated on the day of the launch itself and worked until the mission's end.

ISRO said scientists from India and participating agencies expressed satisfaction on the performance of Chandrayaan-1 mission as well as the high quality of data sent by the spacecraft.

They have started formulating science plans based on the data sets obtained from the mission. It is expected that in the next few months, interesting results about lunar topography, mineral and chemical contents of the Moon and related aspects are expected to be published.[102]

The Chandrayaan-1 payload has enabled scientists to study the interaction between the solar wind and a planetary body like the Moon without a magnetic field.[103]

In its 10-month orbit around the Moon, Chandrayaan-1's X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) detected titanium, confirmed the presence of calcium, and gathered the most accurate measurements yet of magnesium, aluminium and iron on the lunar surface.[104]

Lunar water discovery

Direct evidence of lunar water
Direct evidence of lunar water through Chandrayaan-1 Chandra's Altitudinal Composition (CHACE) output profile
Chandrayaan1 Spacecraft Discovery Moon Water
These images show a very young lunar crater on the side of the Moon that faces away from Earth, as viewed by Chandrayaan-1's NASA Moon Mineralogy Mapper equipment

On 18 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe was released from Chandrayaan-1 at a height of 100 km (62 mi). During its 25-minute descent, Chandra's Altitudinal Composition Explorer (CHACE) recorded evidence of water in 650 mass spectra readings gathered during this time.[105] On 24 September 2009 Science journal reported that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) on Chandrayaan-1 had detected water ice on the Moon.[106] But, on 25 September 2009, ISRO announced that the MIP, another instrument on board Chandrayaan-1, had discovered water on the Moon just before impact and had discovered it 3 months before NASA's M3.[107] The announcement of this discovery was not made until NASA confirmed it.[108][109]

M3 detected absorption features near 2.8–3.0 µm on the surface of the Moon. For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to hydroxyl- and/or water-bearing materials. On the Moon, the feature is seen as a widely distributed absorption that appears strongest at cooler high latitudes and at several fresh feldspathic craters. The general lack of correlation of this feature in sunlit M3 data with neutron spectrometer H abundance data suggests that the formation and retention of OH and H2O is an ongoing surficial process. OH/H2O production processes may feed polar cold traps and make the lunar regolith a candidate source of volatiles for human exploration.

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an imaging spectrometer, was one of the 11 instruments on board Chandrayaan-I that came to a premature end on 28 August 2009.[110] M3 was aimed at providing the first mineral map of the entire lunar surface. M3 data were reanalyzed years later and revealed "the most definitive proof to date" of the presence of water in shaded regions of craters near the Moon's north and south poles.[72]

Lunar scientists had discussed the possibility of water repositories for decades. They are now increasingly "confident that the decades-long debate is over" a report says. "The Moon, in fact, has water in all sorts of places; not just locked up in minerals, but scattered throughout the broken-up surface, and, potentially, in blocks or sheets of ice at depth." The results from the Chandrayaan mission are also "offering a wide array of watery signals."[111][112]

Lunar water production

According to European Space Agency (ESA) scientists, the lunar regolith (a loose collection of irregular dust grains making up the Moon's surface) absorbs hydrogen nuclei from solar winds. Interaction between the hydrogen nuclei and oxygen present in the dust grains is expected to produce hydroxyl (HO
) and water (H

The SARA (Sub keV Atom Reflecting Analyser) instrument developed by ESA and the Indian Space Research Organisation was designed and used to study the Moon's surface composition and solar-wind/surface interactions. SARA's results highlight a mystery: not every hydrogen nucleus is absorbed. One out of every five rebounds into space, combining to form an atom of hydrogen. Hydrogen shoots off at speeds of around 200 kilometres per second (120 mi/s) and escapes without being deflected by the Moon's weak gravity. This knowledge provides timely advice for scientists who are readying ESA's BepiColombo mission to Mercury, as that spacecraft will carry two instruments similar to SARA.

Lunar caves

Chandrayaan-1 imaged a lunar rille, formed by an ancient lunar lava flow, with an uncollapsed segment indicating the presence of a lunar lava tube, a type of large cave below the lunar surface.[114] The tunnel, which was discovered near the lunar equator, is an empty volcanic tube, measuring about 2 km (1.2 mi) in length and 360 m (1,180 ft) in width. According to A. S. Arya, scientist SF of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre (SAC), this could be a potential site for human settlement on the Moon.[115] Earlier, Japanese Lunar orbiter SELENE (Kaguya) also recorded evidence for other caves on the Moon.[116]


Data from the microwave sensor (Mini-SAR) of Chandrayaan-1 processed using the image analysis software ENVI, has revealed a good amount of past tectonic activity on the lunar surface.[117] The researchers think that the faults and fractures discovered could be features of past interior tectonic activity coupled with meteorite impacts.[117]

Awards for Chandrayaan-1


The scientists considered instrumental to the success of the Chandrayaan-1 project are:[122][123][124]

  • G. Madhavan Nair – Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation
  • T. K. Alex – Director, ISAC (ISRO Satellite Centre)
  • Mylswamy Annadurai – Project Director, Chandrayan-1
  • S. K. Shivkumar – Director – Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network
  • M. Pitchaimani – Operations Director, Chandrayan-1
  • Leo Jackson John – Spacecraft Operations Manager, Chandrayan-1
  • K. Radhakrishnan – Director, VSSC
  • George Koshy – Mission Director, PSLV-C11
  • Srinivasa Hegde – Mission Director, Chandrayaan-1
  • Jitendra Nath Goswami – Director of Physical Research Laboratory and Principal Scientific Investigator of Chandrayaan-1
  • Madhavan Chandradathan – Head, Launch Authorization Board, Chandrayan-1[125]

Public release of data

Data gathered by Chandrayaan-I was made available to the public by the end of the year 2010. The data was split into two seasons with the first season going public by the end of 2010 and the second going public by the mid of 2011. The data contained pictures of the Moon and also data of chemical and mineral mapping of the lunar surface.[126]

Follow-up missions

Chandrayaan-2 is a follow-up mission which was launched on July 22, 2019.[127] The mission includes a lunar orbiter, a lander named Vikram and a robotic lunar rover named Pragyan. The rover was designed to move on six wheels on the lunar surface, do on-site chemical analysis and send the data to the Earth via the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which will be orbiting the Moon.[128] The third mission, called Chandrayaan-3 is tentatively scheduled for 2024.[129][130]

Lunar outpost

Chandrayaan's imagery will be used to identify regions of interest that will be explored in detail by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The interest lies in identifying lunar water on the surface that can be exploited in setting up a future lunar outpost. The Mini-SAR, one of the U.S. payloads on Chandrayaan, was used to determine the presence of water ice.[131]

See also


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External links

A. S. Kiran Kumar

Aluru Seelin Kiran Kumar (born 22 October 1952) is an Indian space scientist and former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, having assumed office on 14 January 2015. He is credited with the development of key scientific instruments aboard the Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan space crafts. In 2014, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, for his contributions to the fields of science and technology. Kiran Kumar previously served as Director of Ahmedabad Space Applications Centre.


Chandrayaan-2 (candra-yāna, transl. "mooncraft"; pronunciation ) is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after Chandrayaan-1. It consists of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map and study the variations in lunar surface composition, as well as the location and abundance of lunar water.The mission was launched on its course to the Moon from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 July 2019 at 2.43 PM IST (09:13 UTC) by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). The craft reached the Moon's orbit on 20 August 2019 and began orbital positioning manoeuvres for the landing of the Vikram lander. Vikram and the rover were scheduled to land on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar region at a latitude of about 70° south at approximately 20:23 UTC on 6 September 2019 and conduct scientific experiments for one lunar day, which approximates two Earth weeks.

However, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory starting at 2.1 kilometres (1.3 mi) altitude, and had lost communication when touchdown confirmation was expected. Initial reports suggesting a crash have been confirmed by ISRO chairman K. Sivan, stating that the lander location had been found, and "it must have been a hard landing".As of 8 September 2019, on-going efforts are being made by ISRO in hopes of restoring communications with Vikram. Communication attempts will likely cease on 21 September 2019, fourteen days after Vikram's landing attempt. The orbiter, part of the mission with eight scientific instruments, remains operational and is expected to continue its seven-year mission to study the Moon.

Chandrayaan programme

The Chandrayaan programme (pronunciation ), also known as the Indian Lunar Exploration Programme is an ongoing series of outer space missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The programme incorporates a lunar orbiter, impactor, and future lunar lander and rover spacecraft. The name of the programme is from Sanskrit candrayāna (transl. 'Moon-craft').


HySIS (Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite) is an Earth observation satellite which will provide hyperspectral imaging services to India for a range of applications in agriculture, forestry and in the assessment of geography such as coastal zones and inland waterways The data will also be accessible to India's defence forces.Before HySIS, other Indian hyperspectral imaging payloads were HySI (Hyper Spectral Imager) on IMS-1 and Chandrayaan-1 and LiVHySI (Limb Viewing Hyper Spectral Imager) on YouthSat.

Indian Deep Space Network

Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) is a network of large antennas and communication facilities operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation to support the interplanetary spacecraft missions of India. Its hub is located at Byalalu, a village near Bangalore, Karnataka in India. It was inaugurated on 17 October 2008 by the former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair. The main tracking antenna was designed and commissioned by Jaduguda-based Uranium Corporation of India at a cost of ₹65 crore (about US$13 million). Similar networks are run by USA, China, Russia, Europe, and Japan.

Indian Space Research Organisation

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO, ) (Hindi; IAST: bhārtīya antrikṣ anusandhān saṅgṭhan) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration." The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established in the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1962, with the urging of scientist Vikram Sarabhai recognizing the need in space research. INCOSPAR grew and became ISRO in 1969, also under the DAE. In 1972, Government of India setup a Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS), bringing ISRO under the DOS. The establishment of ISRO thus institutionalized space research activities in India. It is managed by the DOS, which reports to the prime minister of India.ISRO built India's first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975. It was named after the mathematician Aryabhata. In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO subsequently developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. These rockets have launched numerous communications satellites and Earth observation satellites. Satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS have been deployed. In January 2014, ISRO used an indigenous cryogenic engine in a GSLV-D5 launch of the GSAT-14.ISRO sent a lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, on 22 October 2008, which discovered lunar water in the form of ice, and the Mars Orbiter Mission, on 5 November 2013, which entered Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, making India the first nation to succeed on its maiden attempt to Mars, as well as the first space agency in Asia to reach Mars orbit. On 18 June 2016, ISRO launched twenty satellites in a single vehicle, and on 15 February 2017, ISRO launched one hundred and four satellites in a single rocket (PSLV-C37), a world record. ISRO launched its heaviest rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), on 5 June 2017 and placed a communications satellite GSAT-19 in orbit. With this launch, ISRO became capable of launching 4-ton heavy satellites into GTO. On 22 July 2019, ISRO launched its second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, which consists of an orbiter, lander and rover, to study the lunar geology and the distribution of lunar water.

Future plans include development of the Unified Launch Vehicle, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, development of a reusable launch vehicle, human spaceflight, a space station, interplanetary probes, and a solar spacecraft mission.

Indian Space Science Data Centre

The Indian Space Science Data Center (ISSDC) is a ground segment facility being established by ISRO in October 2008, as the primary data center for the payload data archives of Indian Space Science Missions. This data center, located at the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) campus in Bangalore, is responsible for the ingestion, archive, processing, and dissemination of the payload data and related ancillary data for Space Science missions. The principal investigators of the science payloads as well as scientists from other institutions and general public will use this facility. The facility has supported Chandrayaan-1, AstroSat, Youthsat, Mars Orbiter Mission, and Megha-tropiques and will be supporting any other future space science missions.

Jawahar Point

Jawahar Point or Jawahar Sthal is region near Shackleton Crater where Moon Impact Probe struck the surface of Moon. It was named to mark the event of Moon Impact Probe striking the lunar surface after being released from India's first lunar orbiter mission Chandrayaan-1 as it was designed to do. The Moon Impact Probe crash-landed on the lunar surface on 14 November 2008, the birthday of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, near the Shackleton crater. The location of MIP impact is 89.76°S 39.40°W / -89.76; -39.40.

Jitendra Nath Goswami

Jitendranath Goswami (born 18 November 1950) is an Indian scientist from Jorhat, Assam. He was the Chief Scientist of Chandrayaan-1, and was also the developer of this project. He served as a director of Physical Research Laboratory situated at Ahmadabad, Gujarat. He was also associated with Chandrayaan-2 and Mangalyaan.

K. Radhakrishnan

Koppillil Radhakrishnan (born 29 August 1949) is an Indian space scientist who headed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) between November 2009 and December 2014 as Chairman of Space Commission, Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman of ISRO. Prior to this, he was the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (2007-2009) and Director of National Remote Sensing Agency (2005-2008) of the Department of Space. He had a brief stint of five years (2000-2005) in the Ministry of Earth Sciences as Director of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).Presently, he is the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur besides being Honorary Distinguished Advisor in the Department of Space/ISRO.He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering; Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India; Honorary Life Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, India; Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, India; Member of the International Academy of Astronautics; Fellow of the Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences; Honorary Fellow of the Kerala Academy of Sciences; Fellow of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing; and Fellow of the Indian Geophysical Union. He is an accomplished vocalist (Carnatic music) and Kathakali artist.Penguin Random House India published his autobiography My Odyssey: Memoirs of the Man Behind the Mangalyaan Mission (ISBN 978-0-670-08906-2), co-authored by Radhakrishnan and Nilanjan Routh, in November 2016.

List of ISRO missions

The Indian Space Research Organisation has carried out 97 spacecraft missions,69 launch missions and planned many missions including Aditya (spacecraft).

Lunar water

Lunar water is water that is present on the Moon. Liquid water cannot persist at the Moon's surface, and water vapor is decomposed by sunlight, with hydrogen quickly lost to outer space. However, scientists have conjectured since the 1960s that water ice could survive in cold, permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles. Water molecules are also detected in the thin layer of gases above the lunar surface.Water (H2O), and the chemically related hydroxyl group (-OH), can also exist in forms chemically bound as hydrates and hydroxides to lunar minerals (rather than free water), and evidence strongly suggests that this is indeed the case in low concentrations over much of the Moon's surface. In fact, adsorbed water is calculated to exist at trace concentrations of 10 to 1000 parts per million. Inconclusive evidence of free water ice at the lunar poles had accumulated during the second half of the 20th century from a variety of observations suggesting the presence of bound hydrogen.

On 18 August 1976 the Soviet Luna 24 probe landed at Mare Crisium, took samples from the depths of 118, 143 and 184 cm of the lunar regolith and then took them to Earth. In February 1978 it was published that laboratory analysis of these samples shown they contained 0.1% water by mass. Spectral measurements shown minima near 3, 5 and 6 µm, distinctive valence-vibration bands for water molecules, with intensities two or three times larger than the noise level.On 24 September 2009 it was reported that the NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectrometer onboard India's ISRO Chandrayaan-1 probe had detected absorption features near 2.8–3.0 μm (0.00011–0.00012 in) on the surface of the Moon. For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to hydroxyl- and/or water-bearing materials. In August 2018, NASA confirmed that M3 showed water ice is present on the surface at the Moon poles.Water may have been delivered to the Moon over geological timescales by the regular bombardment of water-bearing comets, asteroids and meteoroids or continuously produced in situ by the hydrogen ions (protons) of the solar wind impacting oxygen-bearing minerals.The search for the presence of lunar water has attracted considerable attention and motivated several recent lunar missions, largely because of water's usefulness in rendering long-term lunar habitation feasible.

Magnetic field of the Moon

The magnetic field of the Moon is very weak in comparison to that of the Earth. Other major differences are that the Moon does not currently have a dipolar magnetic field (as would be generated by a geodynamo in its core) and the varying magnetization that is present is almost entirely crustal in origin. One hypothesis holds that the crustal magnetizations were acquired early in lunar history when a geodynamo was still operating. An analysis of magnetized moon rocks brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts showed that the Moon must have had a strong (above 110 uT) magnetic field at least 4.25 billion years ago, which then fell to 20 uT level in the 3.6 - 3.1 billion years BP period. The small size of the lunar core, however, is a potential obstacle to promoting that hypothesis to the status of theory. Alternatively, it is possible that on an airless body such as the Moon, transient magnetic fields could be generated during large impact events. In support of this, it has been noted that the largest crustal magnetizations appear to be located near the antipodes of the giant impact basins. It has been proposed that such a phenomenon could result from the free expansion of an impact-generated plasma cloud around the Moon in the presence of an ambient magnetic field. For example, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft mapped a "mini-magnetosphere" at the Crisium antipode on the Moon's far side, using its Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer (SARA) instrument. The mini-magnetosphere is 360 km across at the surface and is surrounded by a 300-km-thick region of enhanced plasma flux that results from the solar wind flowing around the mini-magnetosphere.There is growing evidence that fine particles of moondust might actually float, ejected from the lunar surface by electrostatic repulsion. This could create a temporary nighttime "atmosphere" of dust. The moondust atmosphere might also gather itself into a sort of diaphanous wind. Drawn by differences in global charge accumulation, floating dust would naturally fly from the strongly negative nightside to the weakly negative dayside. This "dust storm" effect would be strongest at the Moon's terminator. Much of these details are still speculative, but the Lunar Prospector spacecraft detected changes in the lunar nightside voltage during magnetotail crossings, jumping from -200 V to -1000 V. Further characterization was done by the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer orbiter in late 2013.The plasma sheet is a very dynamic structure, in a constant state of motion, so as the Moon orbits through the magnetotail the plasma sheet can sweep across it many times with encounters lasting anywhere from minutes to hours or even days.

Moon Impact Probe

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India's national space agency, was a lunar probe that was released by ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar remote sensing orbiter which in turn was launched, on 22 October 2008, aboard a modified version of ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It discovered the presence of water on the Moon.The Moon Impact Probe separated from the Moon-orbiting Chandrayaan-1 on 14 November 2008, 20:06 and crashed, as planned, into the lunar south pole after a controlled descent. The MIP struck the Shackleton Crater at 20:31 on 14 November 2008 releasing underground debris that could be analysed by the orbiter for presence of water/ice. With this mission, India became the fourth nation to reach the lunar surface. Other entities to have done so are the former Soviet Union, the United States, and Japan.

Moon Mineralogy Mapper

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is one of two instruments that NASA contributed to India's first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, launched October 22, 2008. It is an imaging spectrometer, and the team is led by Principal investigator Carle Pieters of Brown University, and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mylswamy Annadurai

Mylswamy Annadurai is an Indian scientist working as Vice president for Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology (TNSCST). He was born on July 2, 1958 in a village called Kothavadi near Pollachi in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu state of India). Prior to taking this assignment he was with Indian Space Research Organisation and served as Director, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore. During his 36 years of service in ISRO he had some of the major contributions including two of the major missions of ISRO namely Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan. Annadurai has been listed among 100 Global thinkers of 2014 and topped the innovators list. His works are mentioned in textbooks of Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle designed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits, a service that was, until the advent of the PSLV in 1993, commercially available only from Russia. PSLV can also launch small size satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India's first interplanetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India's first space observatory, Astrosat.PSLV has gained credence as a leading provider of rideshare services for smallsats, due its numerous multi-satellite deployment campaigns with auxiliary payloads usually ride sharing along an Indian primary payload. Most notable among these was the launch of PSLV C37 on 15 February 2017 successfully deploying 104 satellites in sun-synchronous orbit, tripling the previous record held by Russia for the highest number of satellites sent to space on a single launch.Payloads can be integrated in tandem configuration employing a Dual Launch Adapter. Smaller payloads are also placed on equipment deck and customized payload adapters.

Science and technology in India

After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru initiated reforms to promote higher education and science and technology in India. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)—conceived by a 22-member committee of scholars and entrepreneurs in order to promote technical education—was inaugurated on 18 August 1951 at Kharagpur in West Bengal by the minister of education Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. More IITs were soon opened in Bombay, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi as well in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Beginning in the 1960s, close ties with the Soviet Union enabled the Indian Space Research Organisation to rapidly develop the Indian space program and advance nuclear power in India even after the first nuclear test explosion by India on 18 May 1974 at Pokhran.

India accounts for about 10% of all expenditure on research and development in Asia and the number of scientific publications grew by 45% over the five years to 2007. However, according to former Indian science and technology minister Kapil Sibal, India is lagging in science and technology compared to developed countries. India has only 140 researchers per 1,000,000 population, compared to 4,651 in the United States. India invested US$3.7 billion in science and technology in 2002–2003. For comparison, China invested about four times more than India, while the United States invested approximately 75 times more than India on science and technology. The highest-ranked Indian university for engineering and technology in 2014 was the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay at number 16; natural science ranks lower.While India has increased its output of scientific papers fourfold between 2000 and 2015 overtaking Russia and France in absolute number of papers per year, that rate has been exceeded by China and Brazil; Indian papers generate fewer cites than average, and relative to its population it has few scientists.

Third-party evidence for Apollo Moon landings

Third-party evidence for Apollo Moon landings is evidence, or analysis of evidence, about Moon landings that does not come from either NASA or the U.S. government (the first party), or the Apollo Moon landing hoax theorists (the second party). This evidence serves as independent confirmation of NASA's account of the Moon landings.

India Indian space programme
Space observatories
Lunar and
planetary spacecraft
Crewed spacecraft
Space probes
Human spaceflight
Cancelled /
See also
21st-century space probes
Active space probes
(deep space missions)
Completed after 2000
(by termination date)


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