Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chandrayaan’s orbit raised

Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The first manoeuvre to raise the orbit of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first spacecraft to the moon, was accomplished on Thursday when the spacecraft’s liquid apogee motor (LAM) was fired for nearly 18 minutes. The engine firing took the spacecraft from its initial orbit of 256 km by 22,866 km to a perigee of 305 km and an apogee of 37,900 km.Nerve-centre
The commands for firing the engine were given from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network at Peenya in Bangalore. In this new orbit, Chandrayaan-1 will take about 11 hours to go round the earth once. The Spacecraft Control Centre will be the nerve-centre of operations till Chandrayaan-1 goes into its final orbit of 100 km around the moon by November 15 and also during the tenure of the spacecraft’s life for two years.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11), which lifted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Wednesday at 6.22 a.m., put Chandrayaan-1 into its initial orbit 18 minutes and 20 seconds later. In this initial orbit, the spacecraft orbited the earth once in about six hours and a half.
M. Annadurai, Project Director, Chandrayaan-1, said from Bangalore, that “everything went as we planned” when the LAM on board the spacecraft was fired for about 18 minutes. “The spacecraft’s health is normal. Everything is under control,” he said.
The LAM would be fired again on Friday (October 24) morning to take the spacecraft to an apogee of 73,000 km and a perigee of 300 km, Mr. Annadurai said.
The two dish antennas with diameters of 32 metres and 18 metres at the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu village, near Bangalore, tracked the spacecraft in its new orbit and received signals from it.

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