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India announces lunar mission plans
Posted: Tue, Aug 19, 2003, 2:19 PM ET (1819 GMT)
The prime minister of India announced plans late last week to develop that country's first unmanned mission to the Moon. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said the country would undertake the lunar orbiter mission some time before 2008, but offered no specific timetable. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Chandrayan-1 mission would be a 525-kg spacecraft launched on a Polar Space Launch Vehicle (PSLV) into a geostationary transfer orbit; the spacecraft's own propulsion system would place into a 100-km polar orbit around the Moon. The spacecraft will include cameras and spectrographs in the visible infrared, and X-ray regions of the spectrum. The cost of the mission is estimated to be $80 million. ISRO said that Chandrayan-1 would serve as a forerunner for future missions, including lunar landers as well as probes to other planets.
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