Page last updated at 19:14 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Indian satellite orbiting Moon

Moon paths
Lunar capture (LC) has been achieved; now for a closer orbit

India is celebrating the arrival of its Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft at the Moon.

An 817-second burn from the probe's engine on Saturday slowed Chandrayaan sufficiently for it to be captured by the lunar body's gravity.

The craft is now in an 11-hour polar ellipse that goes out to 7,502km from the Moon and comes as close as 504km.

Further brakings will bring the Indian satellite down to a near-circular, 100km orbit from where it can begin its two-year mapping mission.

Launched on 22 October, Chandrayaan is India's first satellite to break away from the Earth's gravitational field and reach the lunar body.

CHANDRAYAAN 1
Infographic (BBC)
1 - Chandrayaan Energetic Neutral Analyzer (CENA)
2 - Moon Impact Probe (MIP)
3 - Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM)
4 - Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC)
5 - Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3)
6 - Chandrayaan 1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS)
7 - Solar Panel

The mission will compile a 3D atlas of the lunar surface and map the distribution of elements and minerals.

Powered by a single solar panel generating about 700 Watts, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) probe carries five Indian-built instruments and six constructed in other countries, including the US, Britain and Germany.

The Indian experiments include a 30kg probe that will be released from the mothership to slam into the lunar surface.

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) will record video footage on the way down and measure the composition of the Moon's tenuous atmosphere.

It will also drop the Indian flag on the surface of the Moon.

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