Gratters to all involved.A glorious launch! Divali sweets in advance needed.Here's a foreign media report full of plaudits for India's grand achievement.
In the article,the ISRO is llooking for a suitable name for our desi "cosmo/asrto naut."Gaganaut" is pne proposal.Could there be something better?We could have our own little competition and send the result to ISRO.http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... =12&page=2
Destination Moon: historic day as India launches first space mission
The Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 launches into space
Jeremy Page in Delhi
India launched its first unmanned mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, this morning in a bid to close the gap with China in what is shaping up as a 21st Asian version of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
An Indian-made rocket carrying Chandrayaan – which means Moon Vehicle in Sanskrit – blasted off at 6.20am local time from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota island in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh.
"Lift off is normal," said a crackly voice from mission control as the rocket streaked into the dawn sky and promptly disappeared into the thick clouds over the Bay of Bengal.
Hundreds of Indian scientists monitoring the launch cheered, clapped and hugged each other, as hundreds of millions more Indians watched live television coverage of the historic event from their homes.
The spacecraft separated from the rocket about 15 minutes later and began circling the Earth in preparation for its journey on to the Moon, which it will orbit for two years, compiling a 3-D atlas and searching for water and mineral deposits.
"This is a historic moment for India," G. Madhavan Nair, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), told a brief news conference moments later.
"We've started our journey to the moon and and the first leg of the journey has gone remarkably well," he said.
"What we have started is a remarkable journey.. to unravel the mysteries of the Moon."
ISRO, which is India’s equivalent of NASA, has built and launched dozens of rockets and satellites since it was founded in 1969, but has never before tried to send an object beyond the Earth’s orbit.
If it succeeds, it will boost India’s international status by placing it alongside the United States, Russia, Japan and China as the only countries capable of independently reaching the Moon.
It will also intensify a 21st Century race to the Moon between Asia’s major powers, as India, China and Japan all have plans to launch further unmanned lunar probes and to land a man on the Moon by 2025.
"When you ask any of those agencies, they always deny there is any race," Pallava Bagla, the author of Destination Moon, a history of ISRO, told The Times.
"But subliminally, there is an issue of national prestige," he said. "This is a significant milestone for India and for its space programme. It has the dreams of a billion people behind it."
After leaving Earth's orbit, Chandrayaan will take several days to cross 240,000 miles of space before reaching its final position, about 60 miles above the surface of the Moon.
First, it will fire a Moon Impactor Probe, carrying an Indian flag, down to the Moon’s surface, recording images all the way, in an experiment designed to help future lunar landings.
It will then orbit the Moon for two years, using high-resolution remote sensing to compile, for the first time, a three-dimensional map of its surface.
India takes on China in Asian space race
Indians reach for the Sanskrit to give their own astronaut a name
The best existing maps of the Moon were drawn up by the United States' Apollo missions 40 years ago, and do not cover the Moon's dark side or its poles.
Chandrayaan will also analyse the Moon's mineral composition, searching in particular for water and Helium 3 -- a potential energy source that is rare on Earth -- to see if it could sustain human life.
Chandrayaan is carrying a total of 11 instruments -- five from ISRO and six from foreign agencies, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
ISRO is footing the entire 46 million pound bill for the mission, but will have access to all data from the experiments in an unprecedented example of international cooperation in space.
"A poor country like India used to rely on rich countries for its space programme," said Mr Bagla. "Now it is giving them a free ride. The tables have really been turned with this mission."
The mission also marks a strategic shift for ISRO, which had previously focused on cheap projects with direct social and industrial applications such as telecommunications satellites.
The government has already approved a second unmanned lunar mission – Chandrayaan 2 – which aims to land a rover on the Moon by 2010-2012.
ISRO also aims to put its first Indian astronaut into orbit by 2014-2016, and has announced plans to land a man on the Moon by 2020.
India’s sudden interest in the Moon is seen partly as a reaction to China’s space programme, which has achieved a series of breakthroughs in recent years.
China put its first astronaut in space in 2003, shot down a satellite and launched a lunar orbiter in 2007, and conducted the first space walk by a Chinese astronaut last month. It now plans to land a man on the Moon by 2024.
Japan has also responded by reactivating its lunar programme, sending an unmanned mission to orbit the Moon last year and planning another to land on it next year.
ISRO officials insist they are not in a race with anyone, but many Indian officials are growing wary about the potential military applications of China’s space technology.
"India and China have a kind of unspoken rivalry as the leading powers of continental Asia," said Bates Gill, Director of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute.
"There’s something of a race mentality here."
PS:We're going "gaga" over finding the right name for our desi "...naut"!
Russia has its cosmonauts, America its astronauts and China, since 2003, its “taikonauts”. Could “gaganauts” be next?
India is searching for a Sanskrit-based word for a spaceman as its top scientists draw up plans for the country’s first manned mission into the cosmos.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), its equivalent of Nasa, said yesterday that it would be ready to send a man into orbit by 2014 and to the Moon by 2020 — four years earlier than China.
The organisation’s experts are due to discuss their options with other scientists at a meeting next week, according to S. Krishnamurthy, the director of information for Isro.
“After this meeting we’ll propose something to the Government,” he said. “It will take six to seven years before we can send anyone around the Earth’s orbit. After that, we’ll look into sending an Indian to the Moon.”
If the Government approves the plan India would stand to become the fourth country to launch a manned space mission after the Soviet Union, the United States and China.
It would be a milestone in India’s quest to become a leading world power and to counterbalance China’s economic and military influence in Asia.
China put its first man into space in 2003 — dubbed a taikonaut after taikong, the Mandarin word for space — and said this year that it aimed to complete a manned lunar landing by 2024.
By comparison, India’s space programme has progressed slowly since its inception in 1962. In July it suffered a big setback when the first commercial communications satellite to be built and launched in India burst into flames and crashed into the Bay of Bengal.
But Isro said that it was a one-off, citing 11 previous successful launches, and has set itself a series of ambitious targets for the next few years.
In December or January, its polar satellite launch vehicle is due to place in orbit a recoverable satellite as part of an experiment to perfect re-entry into the atmosphere. It is scheduled to launch India’s first unmanned mission, Chandrayaan-1, to the Moon, in the first half of 2008.
G. Madhavan Nair, the chairman of Isro, gave a slide presentation on plans for a manned space mission in front of Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister, last month.
Unlike its Chinese counterpart, the Indian organisation has also promised to consult the public before going ahead with a project that would cost about 100 billion rupees (£1.2 billion).
Critics say that the Government should spend the money on alleviating the crushing poverty that afflicts more than a quarter of the population of 1.1 billion.
“The idea is to have a national debate on whether it’s a good idea,” said Mr Krishnamurthy.
“We’re not going to do something just because others have. But if we don’t do it now, after 30 years we might be left behind.”
To help to capture the public’s imagination, Isro is planning to consult Sanskrit scholars on a suitable name for the first Indian in space.
Antarikshyatri is the closest Sanskrit translation of astronaut, according to Chaudury Upender Rao, a Sanskrit expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University.But “antariksh-onaut” does not exactly roll off the tongue. So scholars say that “gaganaut” — from gagan, the Sanskrit word for sky — is the more likely choice.