Saturday, May 4, 2019

Chandrayaan-2: India Likely to Land on Moon on September 6

A model of the Chandrayaan-2 rover

India’s much-delayed second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, has got yet another launch window. The mission is now set to be launched any time between July 5 and July 16 this year. The moon landing is likely to be around September 6, 2019, nearly two months after the launch, close to the lunar South Pole, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The lunar South Pole is believed to contain ice and other minerals, and international space expedition plans are hotting up with NASA planning to land astronauts there by 2024, while China reportedly plans to build a scientific research station on the lunar South Pole within the next decade.

The launch of India’s second moon mission, which has been put off multiple times, was scheduled for launch between January 3 and February 16 this year but was again pushed to April. With various tests to be completed and in the final stages, ISRO has now finalized another launch window in July.

Chandrayaan-2 is a fully-indigenous mission that comprises three modules — an Orbiter, a Lander named ‘Vikram’, and a Rover named ‘Pragyan’ — and will be launched on board a GSLV-MkIII rocket. The GSLV-MkIII is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle that has been designed to carry four-tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The Chandrayaan-1 mission was launched on board a PSLV.

The Chandrayaan-2 weighs around 3,290 kg, according to ISRO. It would orbit around the moon and carry out remote sensing of the moon. “The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice,” says ISRO.

The Orbiter and the Lander will be stacked together as an integrated module, while the Rover will be housed inside the Lander. According to ISRO, once the Orbiter reaches the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander will separate from it and ISRO will carry out a controlled descent at a specific site and deploy the Rover.

The six-wheeled Rover will “move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil,” according to ISRO.

Source: thehindu.com

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