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Chandrayaan 1 was an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) mission to orbit the moon intended for two years, gathering scientific information and testing India's space capabilities. Based upon the Kalpansat weather satellite, it had a 1.5 meter bus weighing approx. 523 kg. Chandrayaan carried a 29kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) and a 55kg scientific payload. The spacecraft was successfully launched on a PSLV on October 22nd 2008. It achieved lunar orbit insertion on the 8th of November and tranferred to a one hundred kilometer altitude circular orbit on the 12th of November.[1] Chandrayaan-1 completed 3,000 orbits of the moon and sent more than 70,000 images to Earth.[2] The satellite detected x-rays from the moon produced by fluorescense stimulated by solar fares.[3] Aluminium, magnesium and silicon were revealed by the x-rays.[4]

A power supply failure caused premature termination of the mission in August of 2009. At that time Chandrayaan-1 was expected to crash into the moon in about 1000 days.


The scientific payload consists of the following:


  • Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) with a 5 meter resolution.
  • Hyper Spectral Imager (HySi) for mineralogical mapping in the 400-900 nanometer band. Spectral resolution of 15 nanometers. Spacial resolution of 80 meters.
  • Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) for mapping lunar topography.
  • High Energy X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer (HEX). 30 - 250 keV range. Designed to detect the decay products of Uranium and Thorium.
  • Moon Impact Probe (MIP). 29 kg released from a 100km orbit.


  • Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer (C1XS). 1-10 keV range fluorescence. Ground resolution of 10km. Measures abundance of elemental Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Fe, and Ti on the lunar surface. Through ESA.
  • Near Infra Red spectrometer (SIR-2). 0.93-2.4 μm range. 6nm spectral resolution. Through ESA.
  • Sub KeV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA). Through ESA.
  • Radiation Dose Monitor Experiment (RADOM). From Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
  • Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR). Through NASA.
  • Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3). Through NASA.

Lunar orbiting spacecraft.

Sponsor: Indian Space Research Organization


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