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India launches first lunar mission with help from Europe

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Latest update : 2008-10-22

Officials at the European Space Agency congratulated India on launching its first mission to the moon and welcomed closer cooperation in space exploration.

Europe hailed the launch of India's first lunar mission on Wednesday, saying the European-made instruments aboard probe Chandrayaan-1 were the hallmark of closer cooperation between the two space powers.
   
"We congratulate ISRO on the successful launch this morning and we are eagerly looking forward to science to begin," said David Southwood, director of science at the Paris-based European Space Agency (ESA).
   
ISRO is the Indian Space Research Organisation, which launched the unmanned spacecraft from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on India's southeastern coast.
   
Europe is providing three of the orbiter's 11 scientific instruments, which are the result of ESA's successful SMART-1 lunar mission that ran from 2003-2006.
   
"In an era of renewed interest for the Moon on a worldwide scale, the ESA-ISRO collaboration on Chandrayaan-1 is a new opportunity for Europe to expand its competence in lunar science while tightening the long-standing relationship with India -- an ever stronger space power," said Southwood.
   
ESA and ISRO signed their first cooperation agreement in 1978, and the accord has been renewed four times. The European agency has launched 13 Indian satellites with its Ariane rocket.

Date created : 2008-10-22

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