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On This Day in Space! Oct. 21, 2008: India Launches Its 1st Moon Mission

On Oct. 21, 2008, the Indian Space Research Organization launched its first mission to the moon. The mission was named Chandrayaan-1, and it consisted of both an orbiter and an impactor.

India Celebrates Launch of First Moon Probe

Chandrayaan-1 launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on an Indian rocket called the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV-XL. It arrived in lunar orbit about three weeks later and dropped off the Moon Impact Probe, which crashed into the moon on Nov. 14.

India's Chandrayaan-1 moon orbiter launches into space atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle  Satish Dhawan Space Center on Oct. 21, 2008. (Image credit: ISRO)

The rest of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft stayed in orbit, where it collected and transmitted data from the moon to Earth for about a year. The mission ended abruptly 14 months ahead of its planned end date when scientists lost contact with the probe.

Chandrayaan-1 did more than just demonstrate that India's space program was capable of launching missions to the moon; it also returned some amazing science results, like evidence of water ice on the moon.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos. 

  • The Exoplanets Channel
    Very interesting
  • Arc Light
    Just so you know, the X-15 took off from Edwards AFB under the wing of a B-52 & was airdropped over Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The flight to the altitude record wasn't planned, but the rocket engine burned for two seconds longer than expected. The test flight was scheduled to peak at 280,000', but actually reached 314, 750' due to the extra rocket burn time.
  • Fourth Root
    Misleading wording. Bob White did not set the world altitude record on July 17th, 1962. Four Astronauts and two cosmonauts had flown higher prior to his flight. One could say it was the highest manned flight of a winged craft. But that's not the wording that was used.
  • DrRaviSharma
    On this date in 1969, I was part of NASA Apollo Team

    Contributed to Experiments in orbit and on Surface of Moon (ALSEP) etc.also trained astronauts

    Studied containation on and ouside Spacecraft.

    The Moon gave me employment to work for 5 Years on exciting Human Space flight Programs Skylab, Planning of Space Station and Space Shuttle

    See My picture taken with Buzz Aldrin in 2009
    I received Apollo Achievement Award from NASA dated July 20, 1969.

    Thanks Hanneke Weitering for today's Historic post

    Dr. Ravi Sharma
  • Mergatroid
    "Allegedly, the moon turns green because of its close proximity to Uranus"

    I'm sorry about that. I hear they have been investigating x-rays from the same source. I had no idea. I'll get a doctor to check into it.

    Sorry everyone.