In a bid to add another feather in its cap, India is waiting eagerly for its second lunar mission, reportedly aiming at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole of the moon. If launched successfully, the $141 million (Rs 603 crore) Chandrayaan-2 mission will certainly solidify India's place among spacefaring nations across the globe.
Meanwhile, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have already integrated the GSLV MK-III vehicle with the encapsulated assembly of the much-awaited lunar mission, scheduled to take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) in Sriharikota at about 2:15 am on July 15, 2019. The vehicle has also went to various tests to ensure safety ahead of the July 15 launch. So far, the engineers have conducted the radio frequency checks of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and also completed the equipment bay camera cowling assembly.
🇮🇳#ISROMissions 🇮🇳#GSLVMkIII carrying #Chandrayaan2 spacecraft, undergoing launch checks at launch pad in Sriharikota. Launch is scheduled at 2:51AM IST on July 15.— ISRO (@isro) July 11, 2019
Stay tuned for more updates... pic.twitter.com/n2RA14A3KX
The landing on the moon near the South Pole, an uncharted territory so far, would be on September 6 or 7. During the mission, scientists will analyse minerals, map the moon’s surface and search for water. It will "boldly go where no country has ever gone before," ISRO said in a statement.
Meanwhile, astronomy enthusiasts who are waiting eagerly to watch the prestigious and most complex mission of the ISRO can register their details on the website isro.gov.in. As many as 4,800 people have registered to witness the launch within 24 hours of the registration being opened at 12 am on July 4. However, the registration process was put on hold following some technical glitches in the software. SDSC officials said the issue will be restored shortly but only 10,000 registrations will be accepted for the same.
Earlier in June, the ISRO unveiled the first module picture of India's second lunar mission from the ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment in Bengaluru where the final round of testing was underway.
The spacecraft, with a mass of 3.8 tonnes, has three modules -- Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). The orbiter would have eight payloads, Lander three and Rover two. The mission cost of Chandrayaan-2 with regard to the satellite was Rs 603 crore. The cost of GSLV MK III is Rs 375 crore.
According to the space agency, Orbiter, with scientific payloads, would orbit around the moon. Lander would soft-land on the moon at a predetermined site and deploy Rover. The scientific payloads on board Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface. The Orbiter and Lander modules would be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. Rover is housed inside Lander.
After the launch into an earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module would reach the moon orbit using the orbiter propulsion module and subsequently, Lander would separate from Orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site, close to the lunar South Pole. Rover would roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface, ISRO said, noting that instruments were also mounted on Lander and Orbiter for carrying out scientific experiments.
Chandrayaan-2 is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission, which was launched about 10 years ago. Chandrayaan-1 had 11 payloads, five from India, three from Europe, two from the US and one from Bulgaria, and the mission had the credit for the 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.