In a couple of weeks, India will launch its first mission to the moon with Chandrayaan-1. Over 400 members of a team at Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota (in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh) are planning to launch a satellite that they hope will discover helium-3, a potential source of alternative energy.
From Europlanet: "It will map the Moon in visible, infrared and X-ray wavelengths to determine the chemistry and mineralogy of the lunar surface. It will also look for surface and sub-surface water ice."
The spacecraft is currently at the Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore and will move to Sriharikota for the October 22 expected launch date. Express buzz noted that there would be no "very important people" at the launch:
ISRO officials said no VVIP or VIP has expressed interest to be at ground zero to witness the launch.This is in sharp contrast to China’s recent manned space odyssey, when its President Hu Jintao took a keen interest in his country’s third manned space flight and first spacewalk.
The satellite was a product of international cooperation. Seven countries in Europe were responsible for three instruments on the spacecraft and it will carry the payload of eleven nations.
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