India's second Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, planned for a July 2019 launch, will have 13 payloads and one passive experiment from American space agency NASA, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Wednesday, 15 May.
"Thirteen Indian payloads (8 on orbiter, 3 on lander and 2 on rover) and one passive experiment from NASA," ISRO said in a mission update, but did not specify their details.
ISRO Chairman, K Sivan said that they (ISRO) are not charging NASA anything to take their instrument to the moon and that it is being flown on a friendly basis, NDTV reported.
The spacecraft with a mass of 3.8 tonnes has three modules – Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
All the modules are getting ready for Chandrayaan-2 launch during the window of 9 July to 16 July 2019, with an expected Moon landing on 6 September, the space agency had said earlier this month.
NASA’s Laser Retro Reflector
The NASA instrument to be flown with the Chandrayaan-2 will be a ‘Laser Retro Reflector’, according to the NDTV report and will be placed on the Vikram Lander.
The instrument is used to accurately measure the exact distance between the Earth and the Moon.
The Laser Retro Reflector is a ‘Passive Instrument,’ meaning it won’t be a powered one and will be used by NASA to bounce lasers. Using a special mirror, American scientists will be able to measure the distance between the location of the lander and Earth, NDTV further said.
The orbiter will orbit 100 km from the lunar surface, while the lander (Vikram) will do the soft landing near the South pole of moon, and Rover (Pragyan) will conduct in-situ experiments.
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, ISRO has said; adding that the rover is housed inside the lander.
After launch into earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using orbiter propulsion module, and subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and soft land at a predetermined site close to the lunar South Pole.
Further, the rover will roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface, ISRO has said; noting that instruments are also mounted on lander and orbiter for carrying out scientific experiments.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said in January, "We are going to land at a place where nobody else has gone-the Moon's South Pole... it is an unexplored region." Chandrayaan-2 mission, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission about 10 years ago.
Chandrayaan-1 had 11 payloads — five from India, three from Europe, 2 from USA, 1 from Bulgaria — and the mission was credited with discovery of water on the lunar surface.
The 1.4 tonne spacecraft was launched using PSLV and the orbiter had orbited 100 km from the lunar surface.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV)
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