India launches its first lunar mission

ISRO, Lunar Mapping No Comments »

At 06:22 IST Wednesday morning India successfully launched its first lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1.  Riding on top of a PSLV-11C rocket the spacecraft was inserted in a orbit around the Earth, before it will start its trip towards the Moon. It will be inserted in a Moon orbit in two weeks, and then gradually lower its final altitude to 100 km.

When the final orbit is reached Chandrayaan-1’s main task will be to:

  • To place an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon
  • To conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the lunar surface
  • To upgrade the technological base in the country

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Bad news for the Constellation program?

NASA No Comments »

The Constellation program is the future space transportation system of NASA , developed to bring humans and cargo into earth orbit and beyond. It is the key element or returning humans to the Moon by 2020, as stated in the Vision for Space Exploration.

All the components of the Constellation program has been designed to be as reliable and cheap as possible, while still being able to transport both astronauts and large quantities of material too the Moon. The complexity of this project is enormous, and I have been following it with great interest the last few years. Unfortunately the Ares I rocket and the Orion capsule, together tasked with bringing humans from Earth to space, has encountered several problems this year.

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