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World space agencies welcome Indian Moon mission


India has embarked on its lunar mission with the successful launch of its spacecraft Chandrayaan-1. PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The successful launch of India's maiden unmanned moon mission Chandrayaan-1 has catapulted the country into the league of a select group of nations which already have sojourn with the mystical satellite of Earth - the Moon.

Leading space agencies of the world have congratulated Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its effort.

“We congratulate ISRO on this successful launch and welcome this new mission to the Moon. India is one of the few countries that have accomplished significant achievements in space activities,” a spokesperson of European Space Agency's (ESA) Director General said in an e-mail.

“With Chandrayaan-1, ISRO has taken up a new challenge taking a step beyond Earth orbit into deep space,” he said. European Space Agency is providing active cooperation to ISRO in operations, data handling and flight dynamics for the mission.

The agency is also coordinating the provision of three European instruments for the mission, two of which were already flown on SMART-1, the first lunar spacecraft of ESA launched in 2003.

The Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) is one of the core instruments that will carry out high-quality, X-ray spectroscopic mapping of the Moon; the near infrared spectrometer, SIR-2, a near-infrared spectrometer will study the chemical composition of the Moon’s crust and mantle and the Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA) will be the first-ever lunar experiment dedicated to direct studies of plasma-surface interactions in space.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where Chandrayaan-1’s key component Moon Mineralogy Mapper was developed also lauded ISRO efforts.

“The Chandrayaan-1 mission is a unique achievement in India's space programme. The entire Chandrayaan-1 team is to be congratulated for the tremendous effort,” David Agle from JPL said. The mapper will help provide the first map of the entire lunar surface at high spatial and spectral resolution, revealing the minerals of which the Moon is made, he said.

Of the total 11 instruments that the maiden Indian spacecraft carried, three were from the US, two from the ESA and one from Bulgaria.

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