Chandrayaan-1 Successfully Enters Lunar Orbit

Chandrayaan-1, India’s first unmanned spacecraft mission to moon, entered lunar orbit today (November 8, 2008). Hurray!! This is the first time that an Indian built spacecraft has broken away from the Earth’s gravitational field and reached the moon.The manoeuvre was described as crucial and critical by scientists, who pointed out that at least  30 per cent of similar moon missions had failed at this juncture, resulting in space crafts lost in outer space. The spacecraft is now orbiting the moon in an elliptical orbit that passes over the polar regions of the moon. The nearest point of this orbit (periselene) lies at a distance of about 504 km from the moon’s surface while the farthest point (aposelene) lies at about 7502 km. Chandrayaan-1 takes about 11 hours to go round the moon once in this orbit. In the coming days, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft’s orbit around the moon will be carefully reduced in steps to achieve a final polar orbit of about 100 km height from the moon’s surface. Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of the spacecraft will be released to hit the lunar surface.

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