Spaceflight Insider

Chandrayaan-2 Moon mission to be launched in first quarter of 2018

GSLV-F09 / GSAT-9 on the 2nd launch pad

Archive photo of the GSLV-F09 rocket on the 2nd launch pad, April 29, 2017. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on the GSLV-F10. Photo Credit: ISRO

A. S. Kiran Kumar, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has recently revealed that Chandrayaan-2 – India’s second mission to the Moon – will be ready for launch sometime in the first quarter of 2018, noting that the spacecraft is currently in its final stages of integration.

“Things are going on. The orbiter is getting ready. Flight integration activity is going on, and a series of tests are planned for lander and rover. They are all in progress and we are working towards the first quarter (of 2018) launch of Chandrayaan-2,” Kumar told Indian news agency PTI.

His words were recently confirmed by Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, who announced that the launch will take place in the first quarter of 2018, most likely in March.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2 mission will consist of an orbiter, a lander, and a six-wheeled 44-pound (20-kilogram) 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 the 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.

LEFT: Illustration of the Chandrayaan-2 lander and rover. RIGHT: Illustration of the Chandrayaan-2 rover. Images Credit: ISRO

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

“It (Chandrayaan-2) differs from the previous one (Chandrayaan-1) in the sense that in the last one, we had Moon impact probe that descended on the Moon in an uncontrolled manner, whereas this (Chandrayaan-2) will carry a lander, which will descend on the surface of the Moon in a controlled manner,” Kumar said.

Chandrayaan-1 was a lunar orbiter operating between October 2008 and August 2009. The goal of the mission was the chemical, mineralogical, and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2 will be launched into space by ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in its Mk II variant. Liftoff will take place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.

Chandrayaan-2 mission

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

 

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Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.

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