The Chandrayaan-1 (trans. Mooncraft-1) lunar probe should prove quite useful for further expansion of lunar exploration, especially with instruments that will be looking for minerals on the Moon that could prove extremely useful for future development there.
Knowing the amounts of these minerals available over the surface of the Moon, magnetic anomalies, and how the Moon’s surface reacts to solar wind could help concentrate efforts as to locations of landing sites and potential lunar bases.
Congratulations the ISRO for a successful launch. Here’s hoping the lunar insertion and overall mission goes as equally well.
The following is for aerospace engineers, space geeks, and others interested in space.
Mass (launch): 1,380 kg
Mass (lunar orbit): 675 kg (523 kg after impactor released)
Dimensions: 1.5 m, cube
Payload data transmission – X Band, 0.7 m parabolic antenna
Telemetry, Tracking & Command – S Band
solar array generating ~750 W stored in 36 A-h lithium-ion battery
bipropellant for transfer to lunar orbit and maintain altitude
Attitude Determination and Control:
inertial reference unit
attitude control thrusters
Numerous pictures of the spacecraft and launch can be found at the Indian Space Research Organisation
Unmanned Lunar Missions Under Development
Estimated launch dates/years are in brackets ().
United States: LRO (2009), LCROSS (2009), GRAIL (2011), LADEE (2011), ILN (2013-2014)
Russia: Luna-Glob (2009-2012) Date has changed several times for assorted reasons. Mission is first step in creation of the Lunny Poligon robotic lunar base by 2020.
China: Chang’e-1 (duplicate of previous launch in 2007) (2009)
India: Chandrayaan II (2010-2011)
There are also some proposed unmanned programs underway, among them the Google Lunar X Prize, as well as the ongoing manned programs of the United States (by 2018), China, Japan, and India (2020 each), Europe (2024) and Russia (2025). Japan’s ambitions are perhaps the greatest with a proposed lunar base by 2030.