Chandrayaan-1 and SARA

Chandrayaan-1 and IRF's instrument SARA

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft above the lunar surface (Artist's impression: ISRO)
Chandrayaan-1 (Artist's impression: ISRO)

Chandrayaan-1 was launched on 22 October 2008, 06.22 IST (02.52 CEST). See ISRO's home page for more information

Chandrayaan-1 was the first Indian mission to the Moon. It was launched by an Indian PSLV-XL rocket and was initially placed in a circular 100-km polar orbit around the Moon to perform remote sensing of the lunar surface. The aim was to understand the origin of the Moon better by studying its geology, minerology, elemental composition and interaction with the environment.

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) provided the experiment SARA (Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer). SARA was built jointly with the Space Physics Laboratory - Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (SPL-VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, India, with contributions from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan. The European efforts were coordinated and partially funded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

SARA consisted of two sensors, CENA (Chandrayaan–1 Energetic Neutrals Analyzer) and SWIM (Solar Wind Monitor), plus a DPU developed by SPL-VSSC. CENA measured fluxes of energetic neutrals in the energy range 10 eV – 3.3 keV with mass resolution and SWIM ion fluxes in the energy range 10 eV – 15 keV. The SARA experiment studied how the plasma around the Moon interacts with a surface which is not protected by an atmosphere or a magnetic field. SARA measured atoms sputtered by ions impacting on the surface as well as monitoring this precipitating flux. This kind of experiment has never been undertaken in space before. In 2014 the sensors developed for SARA will fly to another object in the Solar system that also lacks an atmosphere, the planet Mercury, on board the ESA mission BepiColombo. The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft mission ended in August 2009.

The SARA instrument (photo: IRF)
The SWIM and CENA sensors (together with a DPU from ISRO-VSSC in India)
made up the SARA instrument (photo: IRF)


22 October 2008, from Sriharikota, India



IRF instrument:

Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer (European PI: Prof. Stas Barabash)


Prof. Stas Barabash, IRF, European Principal Investigator (PI) for the SARA instrument, tel. +46-980-79122, stas.barabash*

Rick McGregor, Information Officer, IRF, tel. +46-980-79178, +46-70-276 6020, rick.mcgregor*

Satellite homepage:



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Other links:

2009-10-16, webmaster*