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Tue 4 Nov 2008 04:12 PM

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India's first moon mission enters lunar space

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft on final part of its journey, now just 1,000km from moon.

India's first unmanned moon mission entered lunar space on Tuesday as part of its final journey this week into the moon's orbit, a top space official said.

The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was launched with an Indian-built rocket on October 22 from the country's southeastern coast.

"The operation to put Chandrayaan into lunar space went off very well," S. Satish, director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The spacecraft is now 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the moon, enabling its terrain-mapping camera to shoot pictures of it.

Scientists are preparing for the next major stage to enable the spacecraft to enter lunar orbit on Saturday and position itself about 100 kilometres from the moon's surface.

Once the mission is in the lunar orbit, it will stabilise in about a week, after which it will send a probe instrument to the moon's surface.

Chandrayaan carries 11 payloads - five from India and others from abroad.

During a two-year orbital mission, it will provide a detailed map of the mineral, chemical and topographical characteristics of the moon's surface.

The mission will cost India $80 million.

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vrsmanian 11 years ago

It is a moment of pride to every Indian! Kudos to our Scientists and their untiring work.