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NASA To Work With India on Moon Mission
05.09.06
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair signed an agreement today to put two NASA scientific instruments on India's maiden voyage to the moon. The Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter is expected to luanch in late 2007 or early 2008.

Image left: Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair and NASA Administrator Mike Griffin exhange documents after signing the agreement. Photo Credit: Indian Space Research Organization.

Griffin is touring Indian Space Research Organization facilities this week. He will visit its satellite development center, its launch vehicle production center, and its launch site.

"It is my hope and belief that as we extend the reach of human civilization throughout the solar system, the United States and India will be partners on many more technically challenging and scientifically rewarding projects," Griffin said at a ceremony in Bangalore.

Artist's concept of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft "I very much look forward to the opportunity to see first hand India's impressive space facilities, to meet with your scientists and engineers and to learn more about your remarkable work."

Chandrayaan-1 is a truly international mission, with payloads from Europe as well as the United States. NASA's contribution includes the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, designed to look for lunar mineral resources, and an instrument known as Mini-SAR, which will look for ice deposits in the moon's polar regions.

Image right: Artist's concept of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Photo Credit: Indian Space Research Organization.

Data from the two instruments will contribute to NASA's increased understanding of the lunar environment as it implements the Vision for Space Exploration, which calls for robotic and human exploration of the moon's surface.

Related Links:
+ Administrator's Remarks (14 Kb PDF)
+ Vision for Space Exploration
+ Moon Mineralogy Mapper
+ Indian Space Research Organisation