India's much-delayed second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, finally got a launch window and is scheduled to take off between July 9 to 16 this year with an expected landing on the lunar surface by September 6.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission will be launched using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV Mk III) from Sriharikota. The spacecraft might take 35 to 45 days to reach the Moon after the launch.
The mission to the moon -- India’s second -- will have an orbiter, a rover and a lander. All the modules are getting ready for the launch with an expected moon landing on Sept. 6.
In its second mission to the moon, India will seek to study the potential for mining a source of waste-free nuclear energy that could be worth trillions of dollars, apart from other scientific experiments, K. Sivan, chairman of ISRO, said in an interview last year. The governments of the U.S., China, India, Japan and Russia are competing with startups and billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson to launch satellites, robotic landers, astronauts and tourists into the cosmos.
India’s first mission to the moon, launched in October 2008, completed more than 3,400 orbits and ejected a probe that discovered molecules of water in the surface for the first time. India has specialized in low-cost space launches since the early 1960s, when rocket sections were transported by bicycle and assembled by hand inside St. Mary Magdalene Church in Thumba, a fishing village near the tip of the Indian peninsula.
An official of the space agency had last week said Chandrayaan-2 mission has been further postponed to July in the backdrop of Israel's unsuccessful attempt to land on Moon. In its update Wednesday, the city-headquartered ISRO said the three modules -- Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan) -- of Chandrayaan-2 were getting ready for July launch.
The Orbiter and Lander modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. The Rover is housed inside the Lander, it said in a statement.
The integrated module will reach the moon orbit using Orbiter propulsion module after its launch into earth bound orbit by GSLV MK-III.
It might take 35 to 45 days to reach the Moon after the launch.
Subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site close to lunar South Pole, the space agency said.
The rover will roll out for carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface. Instruments would also be mounted on the Lander and Orbiter for carrying out scientific experiments, it said.
The ISRO is cautious about Chandrayaan-2, its first mission to land on any celestial body, as it is wary of failure after Israel's Beresheet spacecraft crashed during moon landing on April 11.
If the Chandrayaan-2 mission becomes successful, it will become the second mission ever to land a rover near the lunar south pole and India would become the fourth nation to have achieved this feat after the US, Russia and China.
It has also been reported that the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft's weight has been increased to ensure a smooth landing.
Chandrayaan-1, India's first Moon mission, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008, from Isro's launch facility in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.