India Intelligence Report

   India’s Moon Mission on Track


The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced that India’s moon mission Chandrayaan-1 scheduled for launch in 2007-2008 is on track with increased interest from foreign space organizations to participate. The complex project requires 11 instruments required performing a geological and material map of the lunar surface and the ISRO says that they have selected the right instruments, which will be developed by different countries.

American National Aeronautical Space Agency (NASA) Director is visiting the ISRO to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the two instruments that will be carried on Chandrayaan-1. The ISRO has already signed a MoU with the European Space Agency for 3 instruments and Bulgarian Space Authority for 1.

While the design and manufacturing of the spacecraft has started, the preliminary design and spacecraft configuration is completed and reviewed. The configuration of the spacecraft is complex with several sub-systems and the review process went through an open forum discussion and process.

In parallel, the ISRO has also started fabrication, metal cutting and hardware production, fabrication of Printed Circuit Board (PCB), and mechanical fabrication that will house the custom PCBs.

The ISRO has made significant progress in the launch vehicle as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) can carry only 9 tons whereas the Chandrayaan-1 project needs capacity to carry 12.4 tons. ISRO scientists are reportedly happy with tests done to the modified PSLV with strap-on motor.

The biggest missing piece of the architecture is the ground station for the Deep Space Network. The ground station will house the entire receiving and management equipment. ISRO says that it has already acquired the land and started construction. The ground station will house a 32-meter custom-designed and manufactured antenna. The Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) has got the contract to design and manufacture the antenna with the help of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC).

ISRO says it is conscious that there is increasing global interest in the project and is determined to succeed on all defined parameters.