India and Europe team up for moon mission

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

India's first moon mission attempt

The European Space Agency (ESA) Council approved a cooperation agreement on March 17 between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the ESA for India's Chandrayan-1 moon satellite mission. The Chandrayan-1 will be India's first moon mission attempt.

Europe will, under the agreement, provide and support three instruments for the lunar explorer: CIXS-2, Chandrayan-1 Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer; SARA; a Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer, and SIR-2, a Near-Infrared Spectrometer. Europe will support hardware for the HEX, High-Energy X-ray Spectrometer. Data from these instruments will be turned over to the ESA for distribution to ESA member states. These instruments are the same as the ones carried onboard ESA's SMART-1 moon exploration spacecraft.

ISRO plans to launch the half-ton Chandrayan sometime before 2008 for a two year mission to study the solar system and the Moon. The satellite will be boosted by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The ISRO has been placing satellites in Earth orbit since 1975 and has developed its own launch vehicles and satellites for telecommunications and weather forecasting. A manned mission had been previously considered but was deemed too costly to carry through[1].