NEW DELHI: Gearing up for its most challenging space mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is leaving no stone unturned to make the Chandrayaan-2 (lunar-2) mission a success. Unlike the first lunar mission when a PSLV rocket carried the spacecraft to the moon’s orbit, this time heavy-payload lifter GSLV Mk II will launch the spacecraft weighing 3,290kg as the module will carry an orbiter, a rover and a lander to the moon.
Giving exclusive details about the mission, Isro chairman Dr K Sivan told TOI, “Chandraayan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon. The launch date schedule is sometime in April. Once the GSLV rocket carrying the spacecraft is launched from Sriharikota, the orbiter will reach the moon’s orbit in one to two months. (The moon’s orbit is 3,82,000km away from the earth’s surface).”
Dr Sivan said, “After reaching the moon’s orbit, the lander will get detached from the orbiter and do a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon. The 6-wheeled rover fixed within the lander will get detached and move on the lunar surface. The rover has been designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on the moon’s surface and walk up to 150-200 km. It will do several experiments and on-site chemical analysis of the surface.”
The Isro chairman said, “The rover will then send data and images of the lunar surface back to the Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes.
After spending 14 earth days, the rover will go in a sleep mode. We are hoping the rover will again come alive whenever that part of the moon (where the rover will land) gets sunlight and recharges the rover’s solar cells. Besides the rover, the orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it.”
On testing of lunar components, Dr Sivan said, “All three components of the lunar module are almost ready. Currently, there integration is going on. Once the module is ready, it will have to go through rigorous tests.” On fixing launch date, he said, “The launch date will depend on various factors like the moon’s relative position with respect to the Earth.
Once the GSLV is launched, it will put the spacecraft in the 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit. From the elliptical orbit, the craft will be manoeuvred towards the lunar orbit by firing thrusters. Therefore, we expect it to reach the lunar orbit in two months.”