The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has released the first photographs of the rocket that will carry Chandrayaan-2 – India’s ambitious Rs 1,000-crore moon mission.
The photos show the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) rocket, often dubbed ‘Bahubali’, which stands 43 metres tall.
GSLV Mk-III weighs 640 tonnes, and has twice the carrying capacity of its predecessor, the GSLV Mk-II.
The latest GSLV is a three-stage launch vehicle with a pair of S200 boosters which contain solid fuel, a core booster with liquid fuel and a cryogenic upper stage which can work in the extremely cold temperatures of outer space.
The mission will have 13 payloads and one passive experiment from American space agency NASA. The 3.8-tonne spacecraft has three components – an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
Following the launch on on 15 July, from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, the moon landing will take place on 6 September.
The Orbiter will orbit 100 km from the lunar surface, following which the Lander (Vikram) will do the soft landing (in which the lander doesn’t take serious damage) near the south pole of the Moon. The Rover (Pragyan) will then descend the ramp to the moon’s surface.
This is India’s second mission to the moon after Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008. If it succeeds, India will become the fourth nation to achieve this feat, after the US, Russia and China.
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