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“Chandrayaan has followed its schedule down to last millisecond”

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A TV grab of a press conference held by ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair
A TV grab of a press conference held by ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair

Divya Gandhi

I was pleased that command network too got accolades: ISTRAC Director

Bangalore: Chandrayaan-1 had followed its schedule “down to the last millisecond,” said S.K. Shivakumar, Director of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC). He was speaking after the lunar craft was successfully inserted into the Moon’s orbit on Saturday evening.

“Traditionally it is the launch vehicle that gets the applause. This time I was pleased that the command network got accolades too,” Dr. Shivakumar said.

The manoeuvre was performed in 14 minutes and the lunar craft was captured by the Moon’s gravity at 5.04 p.m.

Jubilant mood

The following two hours saw the gathering of scientists in an undeniably jubilant mood, he added. Sending a constant stream of data from 45 km away was the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu, where two dish antennae —18 m and 32 m — have been tracking Chandrayaan’s every move since its launch on October 22.

The spacecraft is now orbiting at an elliptical orbit that passes over the polar regions of the Moon. The nearest point of this orbit (periselene) lies at a distance of about 500 km from the moon’s surface while the farthest point (aposelene) lies at about 7,500 km.

“In the next few days the height of Chandrayaan’s orbit will be brought down to 100 km above the Moon’s surface,” Dr. Shivakumar said.

On November 15, the Moon impact probe would be released onto the lunar terrain and on November 18 the other scientific experiments would be switched on.

Manmohan’s pat

In a statement issued in Muscat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated ISRO scientists on the Chandrayaan-1 successfully entering the lunar orbit.

  • Full text of ISRO press release
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  • Off to the Moon: Editorial
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