The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to embark on its most complex mission ever, as the space agency on Wednesday announced that it will launch its much-awaited lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at about 2:15 am on July 15, 2019. The agency would look at the landing (rover) on the surface of the Moon on September 6 or September 7.
Addressing the media from Bengaluru, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, "ISRO has firmed up that Chandrayaan 2 Mission will be launched on July 15 early morning at 2 hours 51 minutes".
"The day we are going to land is either September 6 or September 7, that day happens to be the beginning of a lunar day. For one full lunar day, the lander and rover will be functioning and carry out scientific experiments," Sivan added.
Taking about the technicalities of Chandrayaan 2, the ISRO chief further said the mission consists of three components and the composit body of the system is kept inside GSLV MK-III. The total mass of Chandrayaan 2 mission is 3.8 ton. Out of 3.8 ton, nearly 1.3 ton is the propeller.
"The cost of Chandrayaan 2 Mission mainly the satellite portion, including the support from foreign agencies as well as for navigation purpose, is Rs 603 crore," Sivan said.
Early in the day, 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 is underway days ahead of the Chandrayaan-2 launch.
As per the information revealed by the ISRO, the launch vehicle is going to land at a particular location where nobody has gone before. Following the successful launch of the radar imaging earth observation satellite, RISAT-2B, on-board PSLV-C46 Wednesday, the next one- Chandrayaan-2 -is going to be a landmark mission for India.
According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar mission and has three modules - Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). The Orbiter and Lander modules would be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the launch vehicle—GSLV-MkIII.
After launch into earth bound orbit, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using Orbiter propulsion module. The Lander would separate from the Orbiter and soft land at the pre-determined site close to lunar South Pole. The Rover would roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-2 would have 13 payloads and one passive experiment from American space agency NASA.ISRO had said earlier that eight payloads on Orbiter, three on lander and two on Rover and one passive experiment from NASA would be carried on Chandrayaan-2.
Chandrayaan 2 is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan 1 mission successfully launched about 10 years ago. Chandrayaan 1 had 11 payloads—five from India, three from Europe, two from USA, 1 from Bulgaria and the mission was credited with 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.