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  • Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first unmanned lunar probe. It was launched by the ISRO in October 2008, and operated until August 2009.
  • The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. India launched the spacecraft with a modified version of the PSLV, PSLV C11 on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The mission was a major boost to India’s space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon. The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008.
  • On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 20:06 and struck the South Pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to place its flag on the Moon after Soviet Union, United States and Japan. CHANDRAYAAN-I (MISSION TO MOON)
  • The probe impacted near Shackleton Crater at 20:31 ejecting underground soil that could be analysed for the presence of lunar water ice.
  • 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. The lunar mission carries five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other space agencies including NASA, ESA, and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, which were carried free of cost.
  • For the duration of the mission, ISRO’s telemetry, tracking and command network (ISTRAC) at Peenya in Bangalore, tracked and controlled Chandrayaan-1.
  • 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.
  • After suffering from several technical issues including failure of the star sensors and poor thermal shielding, Chandrayaan stopped sending radio signals at 1:30 AM 1ST on 29 August 2009 shortly after which, the ISRO officially declared the mission over.
  • The main culprit is said to be the failure of onboard DC-DC Converter manufactured by mdipower USA. The converters failed to meet the radiation specifications for the intended mission time. Chandrayaan operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95 percent of its planned objectives.
  • Among its many achievements was the discovery of the widespread presence of water molecules in lunar soil.


The mission had the following stated scientific objectives:

  • 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) 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. CHANDRAYAAN-I (MISSION TO MOON)
  • 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 to future soft-landing missions


Although the mission was less than 10 months in duration, and less than half the intended 2 years in length, a review by scientists termed the mission successful, as it had completed 95% of its primary objectives, consisting of:

  • To construct the complex spacecraft with 11 scientific instruments.
  • To place the spacecraft in a circular orbit around the Moon by orbit rising manoeuvres from a near Earth orbit.
  • To place the Flag of India on the Moon.
  • To carry out imaging operations and to collect data on the mineral content of the lunar soil.
  • To set up a deep space tracking network and implement the operational procedures for travel into deep space.



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