Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully launched by GSLV MkIII-M1

Chandrayaan-2, India’s 2nd moon mission (after Chandrayaan-1, 2008) was successfully launched by GSLV-MkIII-M1 from Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This successful launch comes exactly a week after Missions’ liftoff was aborted due to a technical snag.

About Chandrayaan-2

Besides being India’s 2nd mission to the moon it is 1st-ever mission to be spearheaded by two women.

Mission Objective: To demonstrate key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on lunar surface. It will also carry detailed study of moon’s topography and atmosphere leading to a better understanding of Moon. It seeks to improve understanding of moon which could lead to discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole.

Landing: The rover will land on unexplored lunar South Pole of Moon on 7 September 2019, to carry out scientific experiments. After touchdown the rover will carry out experiments for 14 Earth days (equalling 1 Lunar Day).

Components: It comprises a fully indigenous-

  1. Orbiter
  2. Lander- Vikram. It is named after father of Indian space research programme Dr Vikram A Sarabhai. It will be landed in a high plain between 2 craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees South of moon.
  3. Rover- Pragyan. Pragyan in Sanskrit means wisdom. It is 6-wheeled robotic vehicle, weighing 27-kg. It will set out on its job of collecting information on lunar surface

Rover Pragyan is housed inside Vikram lander i.e. Vikram will be carrying the rover Pragyan.

Payload: Mission carries a total of 13 payloads. It includes 3 from Europe, 2 from United States and 1 Bulgaria. A Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) of NASA (US space agency) is among the payloads. LRA is aimed at understanding dynamics of Earths’ moon system and deriving clues on Lunar interior.

Significance: Besides making India 1st country in world to land a rover on unchartered Lunar South Pole, Chandrayaan-2 will also make India 4th country after Russia, United States and China to pull off a soft landing on moon.

About GSLV-MkIII-M1

It is a 3-stage launch vehicle developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage.

It is 43.43-metre tall. It is dubbed as Baahubali for its ability to carry heavy payloads.

It is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Chandrayaan-2 was the GSLV-MKIII’s 1st operational flight.

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