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