In the run up for lunching a moon spacecraft, any time next month, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been conducting vital ground tests on the spacecraft, named Chandrayan-1 in Bangalore.
Chandrayan-1, placed in large cylindrical vacuum chamber, was subjected to cycles of high (120 C) and low (-150 C) temperatures to test space exposure compatibility of the spacecraft. Known as ‘roast-and-freeze,’ this test is routinely conducted on all spacecrafts before sending into orbit.
An ISRO official said, “Now vibration tests remain (to be done) after which Chandrayan-1 will be sent to Sriharikota for lunching.” ISRO plans to guide the spacecraft into an orbit 100km above the moon for a two-year mission to map the entire lunar surface in 3D, search minerals and study lunar geology in general.
Chandrayan-1 is slated to carry five Indian made cameras to study moon from lunar orbit while five other instruments designed by US and European scientists would piggyback on Indian spacecraft. ISRO is also planning to send an unmanned lunar craft in 2012.
It is worthwhile to here to state that whereas the US and Russian scientists are well versed with the intricacies of sending spacecrafts to moon, this is the first time Indian scientists are going into the foray. Presently, the Indian satellites are only placed in geostationary (i.e. orbiting Earth in synchronization) orbits, the farthest being 36,000 km above Earth.