Chandrayaan-1 Launched

ISRO‘s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft launched:

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched the Chandrayaan-1, meaning "moon craft" in ancient Sanskrit, into orbit from a launch facility in southern India.

"It’s a historic moment, as far as India is concerned…  We have started our journey to the moon and the first leg of the journey has gone perfectly well," ISRO president Madhavan Nair said.  "It’s a remarkable performance by the launch vehicle, every parameter was on the dot… Today what we have started is a remarkable journey for the Indian spacecraft to go to the moon and try to unravel the mysteries of the moon."

Chandrayaan-1 will orbit 60 miles above the moon’s surface, while documenting its surface and chemical characteristics.

ISRO hopes this first launch will help the nation launch future lunar missions that can help researchers learn more about the moon and its origin.  ISRO hopes to one day launch a manned mission to the moon, but admitted that it would take years before it is able to develop the necessary technologies.

ISRO hopes to launch another moon mission in 2012, as the space agency continues to develop the necessary infrastructure for a manned moon mission.

"Earlier missions did not come out with a full understanding of the moon and that is the reason scientists are still interested.  This will lay the foundation for bigger missions and also open up new possibilities of international networking and support for planetary programs," the ISRO said in a statement published on its web site.

Here are two videos…