Europe, India Cooperate for India's Moon Mission

Mar 21, 2005

On 17 March the ESA Council, at its meeting in Paris, unanimously approved a cooperation agreement between ESA and the Indian Space Research Organisation for India’s first moon mission – Chandrayaan-1.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), founded in 1969, launched its first satellite in 1975. Since then it has developed a number of launch vehicles as well as satellites for Earth observation, remote sensing, telecommunications and weather forecasting. India has its own launch site at Sriharikota but has also used Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana to launch its satellites. Chandrayaan-1 marks its first venture into planetary space science.

Under the agreement Europe will coordinate and support the provision of three instruments: CIXS-2, the Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer; SARA, a Sub-keV Atom Relecting Analyzer; and SIR-2, a Near-Infrared Spectrometer. It will also support the hardware for the High-Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX). Direct ESA in-kind contributions are also foreseen under this historical agreement. In return, all data resulting from the instruments will be made immediately available to ESA Member States through ESA.

The instruments requested are identical to those on ESA’s SMART-1. Launched in 2003, SMART-1, having demonstrated a new solar electric propulsion motor and tested other technologies on its way to the moon, has just started its science phase. It will make the first comprehensive inventory of key chemical elements in the lunar surface.

ISRO plans to send a 1050 kg (523 kg initial orbit mass and 440 kg dry mass) remote sensing satellite to help unravel mysteries about the origin and evolution of the solar system in general and the Moon in particular. The satellite, which is expected to have an operational life of two years, will be launched by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in 2007/2008.

ESA will give ISRO the benefit of its experience swith SMART-1 and will further assist in operations facilitation as well as providing the science instruments.

ESA's SMART-1 put Europe in the lead in the new race back to the Moon. As well as India and Japan, China and the USA also intend to launch lunar missions in the coming years. The cooperation with India will keep European scientists in the forefront.

The ESA Director of Science, David Southwood, said: "One should also see the cooperation in a wider context. Space science is a natural area for space agencies to learn to work together in technical matters. Such cooperation remains a strategic element in the Director General's wider agenda for the Agency."

Source: ESA

Explore further: New radio telescope ready to probe

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The case for a mission to Mars' moon Phobos

Oct 02, 2014

Ask any space enthusiast, and almost anyone will say humankind's ultimate destination is Mars. But NASA is currently gearing up to go to an asteroid. While the space agency says its Asteroid Initiative will ...

Mars mission opens India for space business (Update)

Sep 24, 2014

India celebrated putting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on Wednesday, hoping the rare feat will show the world it is open for business in space exploration and inspire a new generation of homegrown scientists ...

Indian spacecraft on course to enter Mars orbit (Update)

Sep 23, 2014

India will soon know if its first interplanetary mission will achieve its goal, when a spacecraft built with homegrown technology for a remarkably low price tag of $75 million begins its final maneuvers into ...

Comet joined by space probe after 10-year pursuit

Aug 06, 2014

Turning what seemed like a science fiction tale into reality, an unmanned probe swung alongside a comet on Wednesday after a 4-billion mile (6.4-billion kilometer) chase through outer space over the course ...

End dawns for Europe's space cargo delivery role

Jul 27, 2014

Europe will close an important chapter in its space flight history Tuesday, launching the fifth and final robot ship it had pledged for lifeline deliveries to the International Space Station.

Recommended for you

New radio telescope ready to probe

49 minutes ago

Whirring back and forth on a turning turret, the white, 40-foot dish evokes the aura of movies such as "Golden Eye" or "Contact," but the University of Arizona team of scientists and engineers that commissioned ...

Image: Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

54 minutes ago

It was 45 years ago when astronomer Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko, one of his researchers, unwittingly began a new chapter in the history of space exploration.

Extreme ultraviolet image of a significant solar flare

1 hour ago

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet ...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

20 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

23 hours ago

With about 4,000 planet candidates from the Kepler Space Telescope data to analyze so far, astronomers are busy trying to figure out questions about habitability. What size planet could host life? How far ...

User comments : 0