India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, was delayed on Monday, 15 July, due to a technical snag in the launch vehicle – the GSLV Mk-III, according to ISRO. The space agency has not yet given the date for the next schedule yet. However, according to an NDTV report, K Sivan had said that the space agency has another lift-off opportunity on Tuesday, 16 July, if it were called off on Monday.
However, launch windows have to meet several technical criteria and it could take weeks or months for a new date.
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second moon mission after Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. The name Chandrayaan itself means ‘moon vehicle’ (chandra: moon and yaan: vehicle).
This will be India’s second moon mission and the first one to actually land on the lunar surface. Here’s everything you need to know:
The Launch Vehicle
ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-MkIII (GSLV Mk-III) will carry the Chandrayaan 2 mission into the space. The GSLV Mk-III is ISROs most powerful launcher yet, the organisation has said.
“The GSLV Mk-III’s integrated module, which comprises of technology and software developed across the country, includes ISRO’s most powerful launch vehicle to date and a wholly indigenous rover,” ISRO said.
Further, some of the advancements on the spacecraft include:
- Lander capable of 'Soft Landing' on the lunar surface
- Algorithm wholly developed by India's scientific community
- Rover capable of conducting in-situ payload experiments
The 'Vikram' Lander
The Lander, named Vikram after Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Program, will weigh about 1,471 kg and will generate about 650 Watts of power, according to ISRO.
It’s designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days. Vikram has the capability to communicate with IDSN at Byalalu near Bengaluru, as well as with the Orbiter and Rover.
The space organisation said that the Lander is designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface (surface of the moon).
The ‘Pragyan' Rover
The Pragyan Rover, which will orbit the moon, while the lander performs its experiments, will weigh 27 kilograms and generate 50 Watts of power.
The Pragyan rover will be a six-wheeled robotic vehicle will be able to travel up to 500 m and leverages solar energy for its functioning. It can only communicate with the Vikram Lander, which will them send the signals to the team in Bengaluru.
Upon launching, the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter will be capable of communicating with the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu as well as the Vikram Lander. The mission life of the orbiter is one year and will be placed about 100x100km in the lunar polar orbit.
The moon-landing for the Vikram rover is scheduled for 6 September, if everything goes well with the mission.
The lander will make a soft landing near the south pole of the moon, after which the rover will be deployed to undertake the experiments.
"“It will orbit for four days and then it will be D-day. It will land at a place near south pole. It will take 15 minutes to land and is going to be the most terrifying moment because this flight is the flight ISRO has never undertaken.”" - Dr K Sivan, chairperson, ISRO
Sivan, while announcing the mission, said that the rover’s door will open after landing on the moon’s surface.
Sivan said that the rover will take four hours to come out after the landing. The rover and the lander will have a lifespan of one lunar day, during which they will conduct scientific experiments. On the other hand, the orbiter will have a lifespan of one year.
Both the orbiter and the lander will send the communications directly to earth.
Why Land on South Pole
According to K Sivan, there are two reasons for choosing the south pole of the moon:
- Convenience, as ISRO will depend on solar power. A flat surface without many boulders or craters will be required for the landing. The chosen area also has good visibility and ample solar light.
- Scientifically, water and minerals are expected to be present at the chosen area more than in the other areas.
Where to Watch
The launch from ISRO’s Sriharikota space center, will have about 5,000 audience members in the audience, who will be able to watch the launch live on ISRO’s website.
In order to watch the launch live, viewers had to go through a registration procedure on ISRO’s website, which has been closed now, The News Minute reports.
For those who have registered, they can watch the launch live on the ISRO website here.
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