India Launches Its First Rocket To The Moon - InformationWeek
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
01:25 PM

India Launches Its First Rocket To The Moon

The subcontinental nation's launch of a lunar probe puts it in an exclusive club that includes only four other countries.

In the latest sign of its growing stature as a science and technology powerhouse, India on Wednesday successfully launched its first moon rocket.

Following a 52-hour countdown, the unmanned Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Center on the island of Sriharikota in southern India at 6:22 a.m. local time. The craft pierced through cloudy skies atop the 320-ton Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle to begin a scheduled two-and-a-half year moon mission.

The mission marks the Indian Space Research Organization's first attempt to place a spacecraft in lunar orbit. The United States, Russia, China, and Japan are the only other nations to have successfully launched moon rockets.

Upon obtaining orbit 100 kilometers above the moon, Chandrayaan-1 will deploy a range of scientific instruments to observe and study Earth's closest celestial neighbor. On board are X-ray and infrared spectrometers, an atom analyzer, a radiation monitor, radar, and a mineralogy mapping instrument that was developed in the United States by Brown University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Chandrayaan-1 will scan the lunar surface for rare potential energy sources such as helium-3 -- a possible alternative to fossil fuels.

The spacecraft is carrying a total of 11 scientific payloads.

Many of the components used in the mission were developed in India at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Thiruvananthapuram, including the Polar launch vehicle and its Inertial Systems Unit. Chandrayaan-1's terrain mapping camera and hyperspectral imaging instruments were also developed in the country.

Despite the persistence of staggering poverty in many areas of the country, India is emerging as a world leader in science and technology. Many top U.S. tech firms, including IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, rely heavily on the country's huge base of skilled programmers for software development. IT consulting firm Accenture now maintains more employees in India than in the United States.

India is also establishing itself as a leader in a number of other high-tech industries, including pharmaceutical and life sciences. The Asian Development Bank estimates that India's gross domestic product is on pace for 7.4% growth in 2008.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll