ISRO postpones launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon to January 2019. This will be second time mission has been postponed. The ambitious mission was earlier planned to be launched in April 2018 and was later fixed for October 2019. With this delay, India may lose fourth position in the world for soft-landing on the moon to Israel as it too planning to launch moon mission in December 2018.
Chandrayaan 2 Mission
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s most challenging and India’s second mission to Moon. It is advanced version of previous Chandrayaan-1 mission (launched in 2008) which only involved orbiting around moon, Chandrayaan-2 is much complicated mission as it involves an orbiter, lander and rover.
The mission components have been completely developed indigenously by ISRO and consists of Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. In this mission, ISRO will for first time attempt to land rover on moon’s south-pole. The mission involves soft-landing on lunar surface and rover that will walk and analysis content on moon’s surface.
Chandrayaan 2 will be launched on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-F10). It will be ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land rover on any celestial body. The spacecraft (orbiter) weighs around 3,290 kg and it will orbit around moon and perform objectives of remote sensing moon.
Once GSLV-F10 put spacecraft in 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit, orbiter will be manoeuvred towards 100-km lunar orbit by firing thrusters and then lander housing the rover will separate from orbiter.
The six wheeled rover will move on unexplored lunar surface and collect soil or rock samples for on-site chemical analysis to gather scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. The data will be relayed to Earth through orbiter. The rover will move around landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
Note: The soft-landing on the lunar surface of the moon will be most complex part of Chandrayaan 2 mission. Only US, Russia and China have been able to soft-land spacecraft on lunar surface.