Tuesday, April 3, 2018

ISRO Chairman Confident of Chandrayaan-2 Success

Illustration of the Chandrayaan-2 mission (the lower-right figure is of Chandrayaan-1). Image Credit: IIT Bombay

India’s Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission, recently delayed to October 2018, will end in success, believes the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Kailasavadivoo Sivan, the chairman of ISRO, gave a speech to scientists at the Mission Control Center after the launch of the GSLV-F08 mission on March 29. He acknowledged that all the 10 orbital flight planned for the reminder of the year, including Chandrayaan-2 are “very high profile missions”.

When it comes to Chandrayaan-2, Sivan expressed his confidence in the success of the mission.

"Chandrayaan-2 is going to land on Moon and rover will be roving on the Moon," he said.

Chandrayaan-2 is India's second mission to the Moon, comprising of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The orbiter will be inserted into a 62-mile (100-kilometer) lunar orbit from where it will release the lander for a soft landing on the lunar surface. The lander will then deploy a 44-pound (20-kilogram) rover that will move around near the landing site in a semi-autonomous mode for about two weeks, observing the lunar surface and analyzing the lunar soil.

The launch of the mission was targeted for April 2018, however, ISRO revealed on April 23, that was postponed by six months. According to Sivan, the additional time is needed to conduct extra tests suggested by experts.

Therefore, the launch of Chandrayaan-2 is now scheduled for early October 2018. The mission will lift off from Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in its Mk II variant. If everything goes as planned, Chandrayaan-2 will become the first mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole. It will also make India the fourth country to successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the moon, after the U.S, Soviet Union and China.

Although Chandrayaan-2’s main goal is to demonstrate the soft-landing capability, the mission will also collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.

India’s first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, was operating in lunar orbit between October 2008 and August 2009. The goal of the mission was the chemical, mineralogical, and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.

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