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India successfully launches moon mission

India took a big step forward in its space programme today with the launch of a satellite to the moon. The Chandrayaan-1 lunar craft was successfully sent into orbit from the Satish Dhawan space centre in southern India.

Chandrayaan 1 will spend two years on the moon mapping out the lunar surface as well as investigating what types of minerals lie below the satellite's surface.

The mission sees India join China and Japan in the 21st Century space race with all three countries now set to have satellites orbiting the moon. It now remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to splash the cash on a manned lunar mission.

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