Monday, 24 June, 2019

Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission, to be launched on July 15

Chandrayaan 2 orbiter and lander revealed at ISRO Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment facility in Bengaluru Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter and Lander. Image credit Tech2
Deanna Wagner | 12 June, 2019, 21:43

"It will utilise the GSLV Mk-III [Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III] launch vehicle, which is the most powerful launcher we have used till date", he added.

According to K Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the launch strategy is similar to that of Chandrayaan-1, which was launched in 2008 and was the first to discover water on the moon.

Chandrayaan-2, which will be launched at 2.15 am from Sriharikota, includes a lander and a rover for the first time in an Indian space mission.

The latest lunar mission has seen several delays as experts suggested modifications to the orbit, the configuration, and the design of the lander of the mission. While the orbiter and lander will communicate to earth directly, the rover can not communicate directly because of some power limitations.

After the launch into an earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module would reach the moon orbit using the orbiter propulsion module and subsequently, Lander would separate from Orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site, close to lunar South Pole, the ISRO said.

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The rover and the lander of the mission will have a life of one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days, though the orbiter has a life of one year. "There will 15 terrifying minutes when the lander separates and before it soft lands on the moon, now slated for September 6, 2019. The final descent will take 15 minutes which will be the most terrifying", Sivan said. If the soft landing is successful, India will be the fourth country to land on the moon. "We have left no stones unturned and have done testing at molecular level". "It is going to land at a particular location where nobody has gone before", he added. Post the landing, six-wheeled Pragyan will be deployed to carry out experiments on the Moon's surface.

The announcement of the launch dates come nearly 11 years after prime minister Manmohan Singh approved the lunar mission on 18 September 2008. It will first enter an orbit of 150 x 18,000 km around the moon with an orbital period of 28 hours.

What will each of the three components do? . The rover is named Pragyan (Sanskrit for "wisdom") and will move very slowly - at 1 cm/s - and traverse the lunar surface for a distance of 500 m (expected to take 2 days and 22 hours at this speed). "It will also study exosphere of the moon", ISRO said. The rover will analyse the composition of elements in the moon.

The planned sequence of events on September 6-7 on the Moon, as displayed on the new Chandrayaan 2 page on ISRO's website. Sivan explained that one side of the rover wheel has Asoka chakra and other has ISRO symbol that will be imprinted on the moon as it rover moves on the moon's surface.