The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to make yet another breakthrough in it series of space missions, with the launch of Chandrayaan-2,10 years after its first lunar mission in November 2008.
Unlike the previous lunar mission on Chandrayaan-1 which had an orbiter and an impactor to be launched on into the lunar orbit, aboard PSLV-C11, at a height of 100 kms away from the moon’s surface, Chandrayaan-2 is ahead of its earlier counterpart.
Chandrayaan-2 weighing 3290 kilograms is equipped with an orbiter, lander and a rover as a part of its payload aboard the GSLV MK II, marking India’s first lunar landing.
The primary objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to chart its path around the moon for remote sensing and furnish details on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.
Giving exclusive details on the lunar mission ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan told reporters that the Chandrayaan-2 mission scheduled to take off in April from Sriharikota, will take 2 months to reach the moon’s orbit at a distance of 3.82000 kms from the earth’s surface.
Once the spacecraft reaches the moon’s orbit the lander will detach itself from the orbiter at 100 kms around lunar orbit and make a soft landing at the south pole of the moon after a well-executed descent.
Tthe 6 wheeled rover will then detach itself from the lander and move around the moon’s surface in a semi-autonomous mode, based on the ground commands. The tools in the rover will then analyze data and images from the lunar surface and send them back to earth through orbiter within 15 minutes.
The rover has been pragmatically designed to survive one lunar day or 14 earth days on the moon’s surface to cover a distance of 150-200 kms. The wheeled rover will thereby conduct the chemical investigation of the lunar site.
After 14 earth days the rover will automatically transform into sleep mode and once its batteries get exhausted it will get recharged on exposure to sunlight.
The orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it. Testing of the three components of the lunar module is in progress and once the integration of the module if over it will undergo “rigorous tests”.
Once the Chandrayaan2 spacecraft is ready, its launching will be decided based on some vital factor’s like the moon’s relative position on earth.
The GSLV Mark II or the Geosynchronous Satellite vehicle is India’s largest satellite launch vehicle equipped with liquid strap-ons.
While briefing the media persons on the launching details ISRO Chairman K.Sivan said that they have identified two verified locations for the landing of the module, unused by any other mission earlier.
On asking whether there ISRO plans to launch a manned space mission in future, the Chairman said, “The possibility was always there for taking up such a mission but the government has to decide by giving resources.”
On future launches, he said that the next mission will be the launching a communication satellite.