Low-cost moon mission puts India among lunar pioneers

Katie Ramirez
July 12, 2019

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the Moon, on July 15.

Chandrayaan-2's orbiter and lander will be stacked together inside the rocket's launch vehicle, while the rover will be situated inside the lander, which officials have named Vikram. After several delays, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission this Sunday with plans to become the first nation to land at the lunar south pole.

So, WHAT MAKES CHANDRAYAAN-2 SPECIAL? And with Chandrayaan 2 ISRO hopes to get new insights to further lunar expeditions in coming years.

"Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLVMKIII) carrying Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft is undergoing launch checks at the launch pad in Sriharikota".

When will Chandrayaan-2 reach the moon?

Chandrayaan-II consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover together referred to as "composite body".

Chandrayaan 2 incurred a cost of Rs 603 crore and involved 120 industries for its production and foreign ground station support.

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First space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon's south polar region, first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology, first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology, fourth country ever to soft land on the lunar surface. Because if they land smoothly on the moon, India will be the first to land in the south region.

"Subsequent to the launch a series of complex mission operations spanning over a period of 50 days will be carried out, leading to a soft landing in the early hours of 7 September - a remarkable milestone in the Indian space programme", Kunhikrishnan said.

All three of ISRO's robotic explorers have different lifespans and will be looking to achieve key science goals in their limited time exploring the moon.

The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. ISRO believes Studies in the lunar South Pole will help understand the origin and evolution of satellite.

In total, 14 payloads are part of the mission with the Orbiter carrying eight payloads, the lander three and Rover two. Rover will also carry out a passive experiment for U.S. space agency NASA while it's time on the moon.

The orbiter portion of the mission is expected to last for a year, whereas the lander and rover are planned to function for the duration of one lunar day, which translates to about 14 Earth days.

While the orbiter would image the lunar surface and map minerals on the Moon, the lander, weighing 1,471 kgs, would measure the presence of Moon-quakes and the temperature of the Moon's surface. Predominantly, these instruments should enable a greater understanding of the moon's water ice deposits.

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