The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will be looking for a repeat of the 2008 success with its second unmanned mission to the moon. The Chandrayaan-II is all set to be launched in April and not in the previously scheduled date in March.
Announcing the launch Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office said India’s second mission is as good as landing a man on the moon.
“Team #ISRO planning an event that will startle the whole world. India’s ‘Space Mission’ Chandrayan-II to land on the surface of Moon around April this year.”
— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) February 16, 2018
India’s second lunar mission has been postponed till April, Jitendra Singh, who heads the Department of Space, said. It was earlier scheduled for March this year.The mission, which would cost about Rs 800 crore, will be the first time India will attempt to land a rover on the moon’s South Pole. “The rover will land near an as-yet-unexplored south pole,” ISRO’s new chairperson, K Sivan said.
“India is going to launch Chandrayaan-2 in April. It is under Chandrayaan-1 mission that the ISRO spotted water on the moon. Chandrayaan-2 is a further extension of the project and it is as good as landing a man on the moon,” Singh said at a conference on Friday. In case the launch does not happen in April because of unsuitable weather conditions it will happen in November.
Earlier missions to the moon have landed near the equator so the South Pole is relatively less known. It has very old rocks formed millions of years ago. “This could possibly help us understand the origin of universe,” Sivan said.
In a separate conference, B N Suresh, Honorary Distinguished Professor of the ISRO, said that ISRO was ready to take humans to space. According to Suresh, the technology is ready but the political clearance is pending. The future plans of the space agency include developing heavier lift launch vehicles, reusable launch vehicles, heavy platforms and human space missions, the professor said.
Citing the reason behind landing the rover near the South Pole, Sivan said it is a “very tricky area” with rocks formed a million years ago. “It has very old rocks. This could possibly help us understand the origin of universe,” he added.
Another reason, he cited, behind landing the rover near the South Pole was that the area has not been explored by other missions. “Most of the lunar missions in the past have explored the area around the equator of the moon,” Sivan added.
The Chandrayaan 2, which will carry an orbiter, a lander, and a rover as part of its payload aboard the GSLV Mk II to the moon. The Chandrayaan- 2 weighing around 3290 kilograms would orbit around the moon and carry out its objectives of remote sensing while the payloads will collect information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice. The launch date is scheduled for April, and the GSLV rocket will lift-off from B N Suresh.
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II (GSLV Mk II) is the largest launch vehicle developed by the country which is still in operating. The three-stage vehicle comes equipped with liquid strap-ons. Since January 2014, the vehicle has witnessed four consecutive successes.