Chandrayaan-2, India's second Moon mission, will now be launched in the first week of October, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chief Dr K Sivan has said. The launch of the mission, which was originally scheduled for April, has been postponed after experts suggested some more tests.
"Our panel of eminent space scientists comprising former ISRO chairmen, top space experts and IIT professors has praised our preparations for the Chandrayaan-2 mission. However, keeping in mind the complexities involved in the mission as for the first time Isro is experimenting with a orbiter, a rover and a lander, the panel recommended postponing the launch till we complete all tests and are confident of a perfect mission,” Sivan was quoted by the Times of India as saying.
The Rs 800-crore mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode.
Once the spacecraft reaches the 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit, the orbiter would be manoeuvred towards the 100-km lunar orbit by switching on thrusters. Here, the lander housing the rover will separate from the orbiter. The lander will soft-land near the south pole of the lunar surface and deploy the rover.
“The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice,” ISRO has said.
The rover will start sending data back to the Earth via the orbiter within 15 minutes after the landing. Only the United States, Russia and China have been able to soft-land spacecraft on the Moon till date.