Destination moon: Indian Space Research Organisation’s lunar mission set for October launch

by Dave

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Antrix, a division of ISRO, is a outsourced satellite launch provider with costs 30% cheaper compared to those of US and Russian providers. Outsourcing beyond IT! Wired magazine did a feature article on India’s space program a couple of years ago.

The Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, plans to launch its lunar mission in October, marking the start of a two-year quest to learn more about the evolution of the moon and map its surface for minerals such as helium-3, or He-3.

Isro will launch Chandrayaan-1, the unmanned spacecraft, between 19 and 26 October, officials at the space agency said on Thursday.
The spacecraft, which weighs 590kg, will be fitted with 11 scientific instruments, including five from the US, Sweden, Japan, Germany and Bulgaria. These instruments and cameras would look for water on the moon, besides mapping the chemical, soil and mineral characteristics of its surface.
The Indian mission will also be the first to map the entire surface of the moon, including the polar regions where frozen water could be found, said T.K. Alex, director of Isro’s satellite centre in Bangalore, at a press conference.
Scientists estimate the moon has large reserves of He-3, a mineral used to produce nuclear energy that has the potential to solve the world’s energy problems.

Chandrayaan-1 will be fitted with an instrument provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, of the US to map the lunar surface.
“The scientific knowledge gained by M3 will prove to be a valuable resource for Nasa’s future exploration of the moon,” Mary White, a member of the moon mineralogy mapper, or M3, team at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said by email.

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