Bangalore: Indian scientists said the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) onboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was made operational on Friday and responded by sending back spectacular images of Australia's coastline.
The Spacecraft Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore successfully operated the TMC through a series of commands, said a release from the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Analysis of the first imagery received by the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu and later processed by Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) has confirmed excellent performance of the camera.
The first imagery taken at 8 am IST from a height of 9,000 km shows the northern coast of Australia while the other taken at 12.30 pm IST from a height of 70,000 km shows Australia's southern coast.
The TMC can take black and white pictures of an object by recording the visible light reflected from it and has a resolution of about 5m.
The 1380-kg Chandrayaan-1, successfully launched into an initial elliptical orbit around the earth by PSLV-C11 on 22 October 2008, has so far undergone four orbit raising manoeuvres. It is now circling the earth in an orbit whose apogee (farthest point to earth) lies at 267,000 km and perigee (nearest point to earth) at 465 km.
The spacecraft's performance is being continuously monitored and is normal.