Image Credit: Indian Space Research Organization

Launch Date Oct. 22, 2008 | 00:52 UT
Launch Site Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, India
Destination Earth’s Moon
Type Orbiter, Impact
Status Successful
Nation India
Alternate Names 2008-052A, 33405


Chandrayaan-1 is an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) orbiter designed to test India's technological capabilities and return scientific information about the geological, mineralogical and topographical characteristics of the Moon. It also carried NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument to the Moon.


Despite loss of contact only a year into its planned two-year mission, Chandrayaan-1 played a key role in the groundbreaking 2009 discovery of water molecules on the Moon. Data from NASA's M3 instrument on Chandrayaan-1 was combined with observations made by Cassini and Deep Impact-EPOXI to confirm the discovery. The orbiter also successfully fired an impact probe into the Moon's south pole.

Key Dates

Oct. 22, 2008 | 00:52 UT: Launch

Nov. 4, 2008: Lunar Orbit Insertion

Nov. 14, 2008: Lunar Impact Probe

Aug. 28, 2009 | 20:00 UT: Contact Lost

In Depth

Chandrayaan-1 was an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) mission designed to orbit the Moon over a two year period with the objectives of upgrading and testing India's technological capabilities in space and returning scientific information on the lunar surface.

It was based on the India's Kalpansat meteorological satellite. Power was provided by a solar array which generates 750 W and charges lithium ion batteries. A bipropellant propulsion system was used to transfer Chandrayaan-1 into lunar orbit and maintain attitude. The spacecraft was a 3-axis stabilized by using attitude control thrusters and reaction wheels. Telecommand communications were in S-band and science data transmission in X-band.

The spacecraft carried instruments provided by India, the United States and the European Space Agency.

Chandrayaan-1 also carried an 34 kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) equipped with a video camera, a radar altimeter, and a mass spectrometer. The side panels of the box-like probe were painted with the Indian flag.

The spacecraft launched on a PSLV C11 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on the southeast coast of India on 22 October 2008 at 00:52 UT. The PSLV injected Chandrayaan-1 into a 255 x 22860 km transfer orbit with an inclination of 17.9 degrees. Reaching lunar transfer trajectory involved five firings of the LAM increasing the eccentricity of the orbit around the Earth to a final apogee of 380,000 km on 4 November. On 8 November Chandrayaan was put into a 7502 x 504 km lunar polar orbit, and then lowered into a 100 km circular polar orbit. On 14 November at 14:36:54 UT the Moon Impact Probe was released and hit the lunar surface at 15:01 UT near the Moon's south pole. All three instruments returned data before the crash.

The Indian Space Research Organization announced on 31 August that the Chandrayaan 1 mission has been officially terminated after contact was lost abruptly at 20:00 UT on 28 August.


Launch Vehicle: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C11

Spacecraft Mass: 523 kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments:


  1. Terrain Mapping Camera
  2. Hyper Spectral Imager
  3. Lunar Laser Ranging instrument
  4. X-ray Spectrometer
  5. Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer
  6. Moon Minerology Mapper (NASA)
  7. Near Infrared Specrtometer
  8. Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar

Impact Probe:

  1. video camera
  2. radar altimeter
  3. mass spectrometer

Additional Resources

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Chandrayaan 1

Indian Space Research Organisation: Chandrayaan 1

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