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Chandrayaan-1 - Factbox

world Updated: Sep 24, 2009 11:02 IST

· It costs Rs 3.86 bn ($79 mn), has a take-off weight of more than 1.3 tonnes, and has been sent on a two-year mission to orbit the moon.

· India is the third Asian country to send an unmanned mission into the lunar orbit. Chandrayaan-1 is much cheaper than spacecrafts launched by India's Asian rivals.

· The rocket carried 11 payloads -- five from India, two from the USA, and one each from Germany, Britain, Sweden and Bulgaria.

· About 1,000 scientists worked on the project for four years.

· At least 16 Indian satellites currently orbit the earth, supporting telecommunications, TV broadcasting, earth observation, weather forecasting, remote education and healthcare.

· India started its space programme in 1963, developing its own satellites and launch vehicles to reduce dependence on overseas agencies. India's constellation of seven earth-observation satellites is the largest in the world.

· In 1959, the sphere-shaped Soviet spacecraft Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to orbit the moon.