India has successfully launched a lunar satellite which will conduct a two-year mission to map the Moon.
The Chandrayaan-I lifted off from the Indian spaceport in Sriharikota on a domestically produced PSLV-C11 rocket. Once in orbit it will orient itself and begin the sustained burn needed to get into lunar orbit.
"Chandrayaan-1 is India's first spacecraft mission beyond Earth's orbit. It aims to further expand our knowledge about the Moon," said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
"With well-defined objectives, Chandrayaan-1 intends to put an unmanned spacecraft into an orbit around the Moon and to perform remote sensing of our nearest celestial neighbour for about two years using 11 scientific instruments built in India and five other countries."
India is joining the Asian space race, as the satellite will join those of China and Japan orbiting the Moon. The country has said it wants to put men on the Moon in the next decade.
Part of the Indian mission will include attempts to locate deposits of Helium 3, which is being touted as the fuel for a new generation of fusion reactors.
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