Chandrayaan-2: India takes wraps off spacecraft that could land on the Moon by September | Science | News


If the mission is successful, India will follow the US, the former Soviet Union and China in achieving the historic milestone. Chandrayaan-2, weighing 3,290g, will be the Asian country’s second lunar mission. The first mission, Chandrayaan-1, launched more than a decade ago in 2008 but did not land on the Moon’s surface as it was only an orbiting spacecraft.

Chandrayaan-2 will launch between July 9-16, while the lander and rover will arrive at the lunar south pole at the start of September.

If the mission is successful, it would be the first ever spacecraft to land in that region of the Moon.

The rover is scheduled to operate for 14 days on the lunar surface.

The India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement: “All the modules are getting ready for Chandrayaan-2 launch during the window of July 9 and July 16, 2019, with an expected Moon landing on September 6, 2019.

The upcoming mission will primarily focus on the Moon’s surface and will collect vital data on water, minerals and rock formations for scientists.

The new spacecraft will be more advanced, as it will three modules: the orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan).

ISRO said: “The orbiter and lander modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle.

“The rover is housed inside the lander.”

Several photographs have been released of the vessel at the Indian Space Indian Space and Research Organisation’s (ISRO) lab, where scientists are working around the clock to get it ready for its planned launch.

ISRO chairman K Sivan told the Times of India newspaper: “Once Vikram lands on the lunar surface on September 6, rover Prayan will come out of it and roll out on the lunar surface for 300-400 metres.

“It will spend 14 earth days on the Moon, carrying out different scientific experiments.”

He added the rover will analyse the content on the lunar surface and send data and images back to Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes.

Chandrayaan-2 has been beset with problems, with India forced to postpone the launch of the spacecraft.

The Times of India had reported ISRO missed deadlines last year, and one at the start of this year, because the country’s space agency had to accommodate a number of changes into the design.

Chandrayaan-2 had been due to launch in April 2018 but damage suffered by one of the legs of Vikram during testing pushed that back.

India had been competing against Israel to become the fourth country ever to achieve a soft landing on the moon, and had been in danger of losing out.

But Israel’s Beresheet failed to land on the moon in April 12 of this year.

Chandrayaan-1, when it launched on October 22, 2008, involved only an orbiter, and made 3,400 orbits around the moon during which it took hundreds of pictures.

But the mission ended when communication with there spacecraft was lost on August 29, 2009, having operated for just the 312 days as opposed to the intended two years.



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