scheduled during 2007-2008, is India's first unmanned scientific mission to
moon. The main objective is the investigation of the distribution of various
minerals and chemical elements and high-resolution three-dimensional mapping of
the entire lunar surface. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV, will
launch Chandrayaan-1 into a 240 km X 24,000 km earth orbit. Subsequently, the
spacecraft's own propulsion system would be used to place it in a 100 km polar
orbit around the moon.
The Indian payloads on board Chandrayaan-1
include: a Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), a Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI), a
High-Energy X-ray spectrometer (HEX), a Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI)
and a Moon Impact Probe (MIP).
The two US instruments, Mini SAR and M3, were
selected on the basis of merit out of 16 firm proposals from all over the world
received in response to ISRO's announcement of opportunity. The main objective
of Mini SAR is to detect water in the permanently shadowed areas of lunar polar
regions. The objective of M3 is the characterisation and mapping of minerals on
the lunar surface.
Earlier, three instruments - Chandrayaan-1
Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer (CIXS) from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK,
developed with contribution from ISRO Satellite Centre; Near Infra-Red
Spectrometer (SIR-2) from Max Planck Institute, Germany; and Sub keV Atom
Reflecting Analyser (SARA) from Swedish Institute of Space Physics developed in
collaboration with ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre -- were selected from
the European Space Agency besides a RAdiation DOse Monitor (RADOM) from the
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The inclusion of US instruments on Chandrayaan-1
has added fillip to the Indo-US cooperation in the space arena which dates back
to the very beginning of the Indian space programme. More recently, the
India-US Conference on Space Science, Applications and Commerce held at
Bangalore during in June 2004 led to the setting up of a Joint Working Group to
enhance the cooperation in civil space between India and USA. The Joint Working
Group, comprising representatives of government, academic institutions and
industries, had its first meeting in Bangalore in June 2005.
During the signing of MOU today, senior NASA and
US Embassy officials and senior officials from ISRO and Ministry of External
Affairs were present. Dr Griffin also visited the laboratories at ISAC and
interacted with senior scientists. He would also be visiting Vikram Sarabhai
Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram and Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR at