ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has already proven itself in the space domain by launching the largest number of satellites in one go (that’s 104 satellites!), is now looking to go on further research missions. It has already achieved the distinguished position of landing on Mars successfully in one go. ISRO has set its eyes on the Moon again. Curious? Let’s find out what the Chandrayaan 2 is all about!
What about this mission?
Remember the Chandrayaan 1 mission? It was successful in finding water traces in the moon. The findings of which were later confirmed by NASA as well! This mission is an extension of the previous mission. The instruments included in the rover will make a 3D map of the intended area and a soft x-ray spectrometer will map the majority of Rock-forming elements.
This mission was originally planned for launch on 15th July 2019. But due to a technical snag discovered just before the launch, the final flight committee gave a no go for launch. This led to the delay in launch. A very interesting fact is that India’s Central tool room and training centre has manufactured the valves for fuel injection required for the cryogenic engine. The most interesting part is that this time the lander also as a rover inside it. The rover will walk on the surface of the moon through its wheels. The lander is named Vikram (name doctor Vikram Sarabhai) and the rover Pragyan.
The satellite will orbit the earth for a month then, exactly after 48 days it will land on the moon and within hours of landing will send back first images. It will be the first satellite in the world to explore the South pole region of the moon. Chandrayaan 2 orbiter will be capable of communicating in the Indian deep space network at Byalalu as well as with the Vikram orbiter.
Chandrayaan 2 is being launched in the geosynchronous transfer orbit by India’s first newest and heaviest launch vehicle GSLV Mark 3. It is capable of carrying this for 10 class of satellites to the GTO. The launcher contains 1 orbiter, 1 lander and for the first time 1 rover. This will come out from the lander and move on the surface and conduct experiments in the polar region.
This mission will also mark ISRO’s first soft landing on any extraterrestrial surface. A soft landing is considered as a safe landing of a rover or space equipment on the extra-terrestrial land. This is done to prevent any form of damage to the equipment. If ISRO succeeds in a soft landing, India will become only the fourth country to do so. It will be in line after the US, China, and Russia. The total mission cost of ₹ 978 crores is less than with what the movie Interstellar was made in. And even less than the movie budget of Avengers: Endgame!
Although the previous missions have already proven ISRO’s technical capability. But, this mission aims to achieve a soft landing of the lander. More so, to test the capabilities of their rover on extra-terrestrial surface.