India's moon mission on final leg to lunar orbit
India's first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 entered lunar space early Tuesday for its final journey into lunar orbit, news reports said.
"The operation to put Chandrayaan into lunar space went off very well. The complex manoeuvre was carried out around 5 am (2330 GMT Tuesday) ... to place the unmanned spacecraft 380,000 kilometres away from earth and 1,000 kilometres from the moon," Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) director S Satish was quoted as saying by IANS news agency.
The spacecraft is expected to enter the lunar orbit in its next major manoeuvre on Saturday when it will position itself about 100 kilometres from the moon's surface, Satish said from the ISRO headquarters in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, reported dpa.
The Chandrayaan probe would be inserted into lunar orbit through complex manoeuvres from the space control centre of ISRO's telemetry, tracking and command network, Satish said.
All functions on board the satellite were performing well and it was also able to send and receive signals from ISRO's deep space network near Bangalore.
The Chandrayaan probe is carrying 11 scientific instruments, including six foreign payloads - two from the United States, three from the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from Bulgaria. The remaining five have been designed and developed by ISRO.
The spacecraft was successfully launched on October 22 on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, 80 kilometres north of the southern Chennai city.