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Chandrayaan-1 lands probe on Moon

Divya Gandhi

India joins select club to mark its presence on lunar surface

We have kept our promise: Madhavan Nair

Indian will be sent into space in 7 years

BANGALORE: “Just as we had promised, we have given India the moon,” said G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, after the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) onboard Chandrayaan-1 successfully ejected and landed on the lunar surface on Friday night. With the tricolour painted on its sides the probe marked India’s presence on the moon and put India in the elite club.

Surrounded by scores of space scientists and with the former President and pre-eminent scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam by his side, a visibly jubilant Mr. Nair told presspersons gathered at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC): “It was during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time that the nucleus for a space programme started. It is befitting that on children’s day, celebrated in his honour, that India should plant its flag on the lunar surface,” he said.

The MIP, one of Chandrayaan’s most important scientific payloads, and one of undeniable geopolitical importance, had piggy-backed on the lunar craft for nearly 400,000 km, detaching itself successfully from the mother-craft at 8.06 p.m. India has now become the fourth country to have its national flag on the moon.

After a 25-minute flight MIP impacted the moon’s surface at a speed of 1.6 km per second, landing on its target near the Shackleton crater on the south pole of the moon, Mr. Nair said.

ISTRAC, situated in the non-descript industrial suburb of Peenya, was on Friday night, a hub of high activity with people lining the streets to greet Mr. Kalam who had flown in from Chandigarh.

“Chandrayaan has kindled a great interest in young minds,” said Dr. Kalam, who had flown in after attending a children’s day function earlier on Friday. “I hope we will be able to have young astronauts walk on the moon’s surface in 15 years,” he said.

It could however be sooner, within seven years, that an Indian astronaut will be sent into space, said Mr. Nair. “We know the complexities and infrastructure requirements of a manned mission, which will roughly cost Rs. 12,000 crores,” he said.

The MIP, equipped with a radar altimeter, a video imaging system and a mass spectrometer, aims to demonstrate some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions.

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