Today—October 22, 2019—marks the 11-year anniversary of the launch of India’s first-ever mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1.
ISRO’s budget spacecraft, which cost about ₹386 crore (US$76 million at the time), left Earth aboard the PSLV C-11 rocket that was launched from Sriharikota on October 22, 2008. This historic mission’s objectives included mapping the chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic features of the Moon, creating a 3D atlas of its near and far side, and conducting high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared, low energy X-rays, and high-energy X-ray regions.
Chandrayaan-1’s launch was crucial for ISRO for multiple reasons. For a space agency in a developing nation to head to the Moon just three decades after the launch of its first-ever satellite—the Aryabhatta in 1975—was a remarkable feat by itself. And the successful use of sophisticated, indigenously-made instruments in Chandrayaan-1 declared the agency’s rising capability and ambition to the world.