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India's "ambitious" unmanned lunar mission 'Chandrayan' is likely to soar into the skies in October second week, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair said on Wednesday.

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Two months before the launch of Chandrayaan-1 mission, the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai is planning to show a simulation video of Indias maiden mission to the moon, on Thursday evening.
Chandrayaan-1 is an unmanned lunar mission scheduled to be launched on September 19, 2008.

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has again pushed back the launch date of the nation's first lunar orbiter to late September.

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India's first planetary mission, Chandrayaan-1, has now been rescheduled to take place in the first week of July as the mission personnel work overtime to sort out payload integration and launch-related issues.

"We are targeting the end of June. We will try to make it in the first week of July" - Senior scientist associated with the Rs 386 crore moon mission.

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 The lunar mission Chandrayaan will be ready for launch by mid-2008, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G. Madhavan Nair said on Monday.
The ISRO was establishing a 32-metre diameter antenna for the satellite bus, besides instituting a Line Space technology, which would aid in visual mapping of the moon and its surface.

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India's moon mission Chandrayaan-1 is progressing steadily on four important fronts meeting both time and result-bound objectives. The mission will set sail as per schedule in 2007-08.

Eleven instruments are already in their first stages of development. The instruments will perform photo-geological mapping of the lunar surface apart from mineral content.

"The instruments were selected based on technical compatibility, purpose of mission, weight and other specifications that Chandrayaan required. Now that the selection is over, the development of the instruments by the different countries has already begun" - ISRO officials.

An MoU is to be signed with NASA in the next couple of days on two NASA instruments to go on board the mission.
Another MoU has been signed with the European Space Agency for three instruments; the Bulgaraian space authorities for one. Design and work have started on the spacecraft. The preliminary design of the spacecraft configuration has been completed and reviewed.
The design went through an open forum/discussion in which a number of sub-systems reports were put together by engineers. The evaluation of the design was done after scrutinising the reports. Concurrent with the design, initial fabrication work on the spacecraft has begun.
Metal cutting, hardware production, production and fabrication of PCBs and work on the mechanical housing of the PCBs. There is also steady progress on the launch vehicle.

Chandrayaan-1 requires an upgraded, new-design PSLV since the existing PSLV will not be able to carry certain weights. The new PSLV that is being designed will carry 12.4 tonnes propellant compared to the nine tonnes propellant that the existing PSLV can carry.
Officials say ground testing of the new version of the PSLV strap-on-motor that can carry more weight has already been done and are happy with the results.
But probably one of the most important components of the Chandrayaan-1 mission is the Ground Station for Deep Space Network. The ground station will house the entire receiving equipment.
Land has been acquired and construction of the ground station that will receive signals from deep space has already begun. The station also requires an antenna 32 metres or 100 sq feet in diameter.

In this regard, the contract for the manufacture of the antenna has been given to an Indian agency - ECIL who will manufacture it with the help of BARC.

"For now, some of these stages are on target. We are happy with the way work is progressing. The world is watching us and understands our credibility. Chandrayaan-1 should launch as planned in 2007-08"

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The Chandrayaan-1 (Hindi for "Moon Craft") spacecraft will be launched on a PSLV C5 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on the southeast coast of India.
The PSLV C5 will inject the spacecraft into a 240 x 36000-km geosynchronous transfer orbit. After a 5.5-day lunar transfer trajectory the spacecraft will be captured into an initial 1000 km near circular orbit which will be lowered to a 200 km checkout orbit and eventually into a 100 km circular polar orbit. It will stay in orbit and return data for at least two years.

It is not expected to launch earlier than September 2007.

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United States space agency National Aeronautical Space Agency chief Michael Griffin is visiting India next week during which memoranda of understanding to send two American scientific instruments onboard the country's maiden moon mission Chandrayaan-I will be signed.

Griffin, who arrives in New Delhi on Monday next, will visit Indian Space Research Organisation headquarters in Bangalore, where the agreements will be signed with ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair, official sources said.
NASA will be sending a mini synthetic aperture radar (miniSAR) developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory and a moon mineralogy mapper built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

While the miniSAR will be used to map lunar polar ice, the moon mineralogy mapper will identify the surface mineral composition of the moon.
Besides the two US payloads, Chandrayaan-I will carry five Indian instruments, three developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from the Bulgarian Space Laboratory.
Likely to be launched in 2008, Chandrayaan-I will do a physical and chemical mapping of the moon from a 100-km lunar orbit. Among the Indian payloads, Terrain Mapping Camera will be used to produce a high-resolution map of the Moon, while the Hyper Spectral Imager will perform mineralogical mapping in the 400-900 nm band with a spectral resolution of 15 nm and a spatial resolution of 80 m.

The Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) will determine the surface topography and the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer will be used to study the X-rays emanating from the lunar surface.
Moon Impact probe (MIP) developed by ISRO is a small satellite that will be ejected once it reaches 100-km orbit around moon, to impact on the moon. MIP carries three more instruments namely, a high resolution mass spectrometer, an S-Band altimeter and a Video camera, which would study the lunar surface as it crashes onto the moon.
The Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA) from ESA will map composition using low energy neutral atoms sputtered from the surface, while near-infrared spectrometer (SIR-2) will also map the mineral composition using an infrared grating spectrometer.

Bulgaria will send a Radiation Dose Monitor aboard Chandrayaan-I to map the radiation environment around the moon.

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India's first unmanned spacecraft will carry three European payloads on its journey to the moon, scheduled for 2007, to be used in experiments on the lunar surface.
According to ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

The Indian Space Research Organisation signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Space Agency Monday to carry the additional payloads aboard India's Chandrayan-1 spacecraft.

The payloads will include instruments such as an X-ray detector, a particle detector and a multi-spectral imager.
ISRO is also in talks with the US National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) to carry a miniature imaging instrument to detect water ice in cold traps on the lunar poles up to a depth of a few metres.

"We have the capabilities to develop and manage a mission that would orbit the moon and enable a series of observations and measurements using specific instruments" - G. Madhavan Nair.

The 590-kilogram Chandrayan-1 is expected to map the lunar terrain for minerals and conduct scientific experiments.

India has developed a tracking network to monitor the spacecraft while it is in orbit.
A special ground station is also being constructed near the southern city of Bangalore where ISRO is headquartered.


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India and the United States are finalising the formalities to incorporate a US payload in India's first unmanned moon mission, Chandrayan-1.

Both the countries have to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are working out the finer details.

''As far as the payload is concerned, they are working out the paper work and other formalities with ISRO. I think, NASA payload has been selected. The two countries have to sign the MoU in this connection'' - Dr Amitabh Ghosh, NASA scientist.

Earlier this year, ISRO had received a request from NASA to place its payload in India's unmanned moon mission, scheduled for the launch in 2007-08.

NASA wants to fly a set of instruments, including a Mini-Synthetic Aperture Radar on board ISRO's orbiter.

The Indo-US joint working group on space cooperation, set up early this year after the visit of US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, is meeting for the first time from June 28-29 in Bangalore and according to ISRO sources, finalisation of NASA payload and cooperation in Chandrayan would be the main agenda of the meeting.

A high-level US delegation, led by John F Turner, assistant secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, senior officials and associate directors from NASA will have discussions with officials of the ISRO.

ISRO plans to put a 525-kg orbiter, scheduled for launch by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in 2007, which will hover at 100 km over the moon to collect data on mineral resources and water.

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