On Oct. 21, 2008, the Indian Space Research Organization launched its first mission to the moon. The mission was named Chandrayaan-1, and it consisted of both an orbiter and an impactor.
Chandrayaan-1 launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on an Indian rocket called the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV-XL. It arrived in lunar orbit about three weeks later and dropped off the Moon Impact Probe, which crashed into the moon on Nov. 14.
The rest of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft stayed in orbit, where it collected and transmitted data from the moon to Earth for about a year. The mission ended abruptly 14 months ahead of its planned end date when scientists lost contact with the probe.
Chandrayaan-1 did more than just demonstrate that India’s space program was capable of launching missions to the moon; it also returned some amazing science results, like evidence of water ice on the moon.