Chandrayaan 1: Mission Mangal

Chandrayaan 1

Chandrayaan 1 was the first Indian spacecraft launched to the moon under chandrayaan program. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in October 2008 which attained to work till August 2009. The Rocket containing chandrayaan 1 Space Craft was launched on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre situated at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. It was a great initiative for India’s space research and exploration programme as it was the first time India laid its hands and visions to the moon.

The spacecraft got into the orbit of the moon on 8th November 2008. On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impacter got separated out of chandrayaan 1 and struck the south pole in a controlled way, thereby making India the fourth country to place its flag on to the moon. The location of impact was named as Jawahar Point in memory of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

The estimated capital for the project was Rs.386 Crore (US $56 Million). It was guided and directed to survey the surface of the moon over a period of two years to produce a complete map of the chemical composition at the surface. The polar regions were assumed to contain water ice which was also researched substantially.

Out of the achievements got after the research, one of the marked ones is of the discovery of the broad presence of water molecules in the soil of the moon.

Up to a year, the machine was in a proper state fit for research and exploration works but somehow, almost at the end of the first year, it got suffered out of multiple technical problems which included failure of the star tracker and poor thermal shielding. As a result of increasing technical issues, Chandrayaan 1 yet stopped communicating on 28th August 2009, pretty shortly after which the ISRO officially declared the mission to be over. Chandrayaan 1 operated for a net of 312 days in contrast to its visionary working period of two years. However, the mission achieved most of its scientific objectives.

NASA on 2nd July 2016, used ground-based radar systems to relocate chandrayaan 1 in the moon’s orbit, after the passage of more than 7 years of its shut down. Through repeated observations resulted in getting its information of location but still, the precise location always used to get alter out of itself.


The then Prime minister of India, Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Chandrayaan 1 project to be performed in his independence day speech on 15th August 2003. During a meeting of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1999, the idea or vision of an Indian scientific mission to the moon was first shaped. After it, The Astronomical Society of India (ASI) carried forwards the same idea of the mission to moon in the year 2000. Subsequently, ISRO set up the National Lunar Mission Task Force which ultimately declared that ISRO has the technical expertise to carry out an Indian mission to the moon.

In April 2003, more than a 100 Indian Scientists belonging to the fields of physics, chemistry, astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and space sciences, earth science, engineering and communication sciences discussed as well as collectively approved the Task Force’s recommendation of launching an Indian spacecraft to the satellite moon. After six months of which the then Indian Government under the guidance of Sri Atal Bihari Bajpayee gave approval for the mission to moon.


The mission had the following objectives to cover:

  • for the preparation of a thorough map of the moon
  • to innovate and launch a spacecraft to orbit around the Moon using an Indian-made launch-vehicle to perform observations & scientific experiments using instruments on the spacecraft providing data:
  • for the preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of both near as well as far sides of the satellite Moon
  • to increase scientific knowledge
  • for chemical and minerals associated observation and cloning of the entire surface of the moon at high resolution, selectively observing and cloning the chemical elements magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, titanium, radon, uranium, and thorium
  • to test the impact of a sub-satellite (Moon Impact Probe – MIP) on the surface of the Moon as a fore-runner for future soft-landing missions


The mission had these goals to accomplish:

  • High-Resolution minerals related and chemical observation and cloning of the statically shadowed north as well as south-polar regions
  • Searching for surface or sub-surface lunar water-ice, especially at the lunar poles
  • Observation for the presence of water on the moon
  • Identification of chemicals in lunar highland rocks
  • Chemical stratigraphy of the lunar crust by remote sensing of the central uplands of large lunar craters, and of the South Pole Aitken Region (SPAR), an expected site of interior material
  • Observing and cloning the height variations of features of the surface of the moon
  • Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10-kilo electron-Volt (KeV) and stereographic coverage of most of the Moon’s surface with 5 meter (16 feet) resolution
  • to provide new thorough vision of understanding the Moon’s origin and evolution

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Chandrayaan 1 Specifications

Diagram of the Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft


1,380 kilogram (3,042 pounds) at launch,

675 kilogram (1,488 pounds) at lunar orbit, and

523 kilograms (1,153 pounds) after releasing the impactor.



Cuboid in shape of approximately 1.5 metre (4.9 feet)



X Band, 0.7 metre (2.3 feet) diameter dual gimballed parabolic antenna for payload data transmission. The Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (TTC) communication operates in S-band frequency.



The spacecraft was mainly powered by solar energy which included one solar panel covering a total area of 2.15 × 1.8 metre (7.1 × 5.9 feet) generating 750 Watts of high power, which was stored in a 36 A-h lithium-ion battery for its use during eclipses.



The spacecraft used a bipropellant integrated propulsion system to reach moon’s orbit as well as orbit and height maintenance while orbiting the satellite Moon. The power plant consisted of one 440 Newton engine and eight 22 Newton thrusters. Fuel and oxidiser were stored in two tanks of 390 Litre (100 US gallons) each.


Navigation and control

The craft was stabilized with two-star sensors, gyros and four reaction wheels. The craft carried dual bus management units for altitude control, sensor processing, antenna orientation, etc.



  • ISRO’s Chandrayaan 1 mission was nominated for the annual American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics(AIAA) SPACE awards of 2009 which holds as well as expresses prime contributions to space science and technology.
  • The International Lunar Exploration Working Group awarded the team of Chandrayaan 1, the International Co-operation Award in 2008 for its accommodation and tests of the most international moon payload ever.
  • National Space Society of US awarded ISRO the Space Pioneer Award in 2009 in the science and engineering category, for its Chandrayaan 1 mission.


The scientists behind the success of the Chandrayaan 1 project are:

  • Madhavan Nair – Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation
  • K. Alex– Director in ISAC (ISRO Satellite Centre)
  • Mylswamy Annadurai– Project Director of Chandrayan 1
  • K. Shivkumar– Director in Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network
  • Pitchaimani – Operations Director of Chandrayan 1
  • Leo Jackson John – Spacecraft Operations Manager of Chandrayan 1
  • Radhakrishnan – Director in VSSC
  • George Koshy – Mission Director of PSLV-C11
  • Srinivasa Hegde – Mission Director of Chandrayaan1
  • Jitendra Nath Goswami – Director of Physical Research Laboratory as well as Principal Scientific Investigator of Chandrayaan 1
  • Madhavan Chandradathan– Head of Launch Authorization Board, Chandrayan 1

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