Chandrayaan-2 is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. It involves an indigenously built lunar orbiter, lander, and rover. So, let’s learn all about India’s first-ever lunar lander Chandrayaan-2.
Chandrayaan-2 which was called off due to technical snag is now rescheduled for launch on Monday, July 22nd, 2019 at 2:43 P.M. (IST).
India is getting ready on Sunday, July 14 to launch its first-ever lunar lander. The lander will ride on top of the country’s most powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, as part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
A successful landing would make India the fourth country to soft-land on the Moon, a feat accomplished only by US, USSR, and Chinese space agencies. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 would be the first-ever mission to soft-land near the south pole of the Moon.
What is the primary objective of Chandrayaan-2?
Chandrayaan-2’s primary objectives are to demonstrate soft-land capability on the lunar surface carrying all scientific instruments and operate a robotic rover on the surface. Scientific purposes include lunar topography research, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere, and hydroxyl and water ice signatures. The orbiter will map the lunar surface and assist in the preparation of its 3D maps. The onboard radar will also map the surface while studying the southern polar water ice and the lunar regolith thickness on the surface.
Costing and Design of Chandrayaan-2
The mission is scheduled to fly from Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) with an estimated lift-off weight of 3,877 kg (8,547 lb).
As of June 2019, the mission has an allocated cost of some rupees 978 crores (about US$ 141 million) that includes rupees 603 crores for the space segment and around rupees 375 crores as launch costs for GSLV Mk III.
Chandrayaan-2 will consist of an Orbiter, Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover.
At an altitude of 100 km (62 mi), the orbiter will orbit the Moon. Five instruments will be carried on the orbiter by the mission. Three of them are new, while two others are enhanced versions of those flown on Chandrayaan-1. The approximate launch mass will be 2,379 kg (5,245 lb). Before the lander is separated, the Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) will perform high-resolution observations of the landing site from the orbiter.
The lander of the mission is called Vikram named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971), who is widely regarded as the father of the Indian space program. Using it’s 800 N (180 lbf) liquid main engines, the Vikram lander will detach from the orbiter and descend to a lunar orbit of 30 km X 100 km (19 mi X 62 mi). Before trying to land on the lunar surface, it will then conduct a thorough check of all its onboard systems.
Unlike the Moon Impact Probe of Chandrayaan-1, the Vikram lander will make a soft landing, deploying the rover, and perform some scientific research for about 15 days. The lander and rover’s estimated combined weight is 1,471 kg (3,243 lb).
The rover of the mission is called Pragyaan which means ‘Wisdom’. The weight of the rover is about 27 kg (60 lb) and will be solar-powered. The rover will move at a speed of 1 cm per second on 6 wheels traversing a distance of 500 meters on the lunar surface, performing on-site chemical analysis and sending data to the lander to transmit it to the Earth station.
A 3D view of the surrounding terrain will be provided by the rover to the ground team controlling the rover through its two 1-Megapixel, Monochromatic NAVCAMs in the front.
Pragyan rover’s expected working time is one lunar day or about 14 Earth days, but its power systems have a solar-powered sleep/wake-up cycle that could lead to longer lives than planned.
About the mission
Chandrayaan-2 stack would primarily be positioned by the launch vehicle in an Earth parking orbit of 170 km perigee and 40,400 km apogee. It will then use its power to perform orbit raising operations followed by trans-lunar injection.
In a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft-land a lander and rover at a latitude of about 70 ° south. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will run chemical analysis on-site. Through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, the data can be relayed to Earth as well as lander, which will fly on the same launch.
The proposed landing site for Chandryaan 2 is just 350 kilometres (220 miles) from the edge of the South-Pole Aitken basin-the same massive crater on the far side of the Moon under which researchers have lately found proof of a “large excess of mass.”
The rover carries an X-ray spectrometer capable of analyzing the Aitken basin crust’s structure to find details about its origin.