Thirteen years ago on this day, India scripted history when it launched Chandrayaan-1 country’s first mission to the Moon using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
Chandrayaan-1 made more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon during its operational life of 312 days till August 29, 2009. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), Chandrayaan-1 made a path-breaking discovery with the detection of water in the vapour form on the lunar surface.
However, the launch of Chandrayaan-1 on October 22, 2008 was not a cakewalk.
Dr M Annadurai, the Project Director of the successful Chandrayaan-1 mission, earlier said the Isro faced a “very tough situation” as it had a very short launch window and the weather was “very, very bad”.
“We were running against time, that was the last date to take off, we had some technical issues to set right and weather was very, very bad at Sriharikota spaceport,” Dr M Annadurai said.
“Everybody was anxious, luckily for half-an-hour, the weather cleared but after that there were thunder-storms; launch time was a real nail-biting moment,” Dr M Annadurai said.
Dr M Annadurai also recalled how over 200 officials were tense and anxious, sending up their prayers to their “insta devathas” (favourite deities) on the day when the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was being injected into lunar orbit.
He also recalled that officials had the pictures of their favourite deities on their computer consoles. Some had laddus from the famed Venkatachalapathy Temple in Tirupati.
“That was the first interplanetary mission for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). It was also the first time we were tracking a satellite that was beyond 36,000 km,” Dr M Annadurai said.
Chandrayaan-1 faced glitch before launch:
Former Isro chief K Madhavan Nair earlier said Chandrayaan-1 faced a glitch before the launch in 2008.
Madhavan Nair, the chairman of Isro during Chandrayaan-1 launch in 2008, recalled the time when the space agency’s scientists detected the glitch before the launch and rectified the error and later the mission took off as planned.
“There was a leakage in propellant that was detected two hours before the launch of Chandrayaan-1. It was corrected and the mission was launched on the same day,” Madhavan Nair was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
On November 8, 2008, the Chandrayaan-1 was successfully injected into the lunar orbit and the Isro officials heaved a big sigh of relief.
Chandrayaan-1 also discovered water ice in the North polar region besides detecting magnesium, aluminium and silicon on the lunar surface while global imaging of the moon was another achievement of the mission.
According to Isro, the learnings of Chandrayaan-1 mission were helpful for its second inter-planetary mission Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in 2014.
Chandrayaan-1 was country’s 1st mission to the Moon using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Sriharikota
Chandrayaan-1 made more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon during its operational life of 312 days till August 29, 2009
Chandrayaan-1 made a path-breaking discovery with the detection of water in the vapour form on the lunar surface