Published: Thu, June 13, 2019

Why Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s ‘most complex mission’ so far

Why Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s ‘most complex mission’ so far

ISRO has scheduled several more missions including the first manned mission to space in 2021, Aditya-L1 or the solar mission in 2021, Mars Orbiter Mission-2 in 2022 and Venus mission in 2023 among others. Sivan describes these 15 minutes as the "most terrifying moment".

"It is the most complex mission ever to be undertaken by ISRO", NDTV quoted Sivan as saying.

The landing site, at about 70 degrees south latitude, is the southernmost for any mission, not attempted before by any country, according to ISRO, as the Indian space agency eyed an ambitious feat after missing many dates.

The launch would take place at 2.51 am on board the GSLV MK-III vehicle from the spaceport of Sriharikota.

The spacecraft, with an estimated weight of 3.8 tonne, will attempt a soft landing on the Moon, adding to the complexity of the mission.

Chandrayaan-2 will carry 13 scientific satellites with it and weighs about 3.8 tonnes, the equivalent of eight elephants, Sivan said.

According to him, there is both convenience and science involved for choosing the South Pole.

This mission will focus on the lunar's surface and gather data on water, minerals and rock formations.

Chandrayaan-2 will be the country's second lunar mission.

Sivan said that because the lander has to perform a soft landing and not crash on the lunar surface, it makes Chandrayaan-2 the "most complex mission" so far. It will cost about 10 billion rupees ($144 million), ISRO said.

Sivan said following the successful launch of the radar imaging earth observation satellite, RISAT-2B, on-board PSLV-C46 Wednesday, the next one- Chandrayaan-2 -is going to be a landmark mission for India.

If the mission is successful, India will follow the U.S., the former Soviet Union and China in achieving the historic milestone. From the moon's orbit at 100 km, it will take four days for the lander and rover combo to reduce the distance to 30 km.

The orbiter, with scientific payloads, would go around the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2 will launch between July 9-16, while the lander and rover will arrive at the lunar south pole at the start of September.

"It will spend 14 earth days on the Moon, carrying out different scientific experiments".

After the launch into an earth-bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module would reach the Moon orbit using the orbiter propulsion module, and subsequently, the lander would separate from the orbiter and soft-land at the predetermined site, close to the lunar South Pole.

The rover will send pictures of the lunar surface within 20 minutes of landing, Sivan said.

ISRO had launched in Chandrayaan 1 - a simpler mission that included just the lunar orbiter - in October 2008, at a cost of a little over Rs 380 crore.

Chandrayaan-1 had 11 payloads - five from India, three from Europe, two from the USA and one from Bulgaria - and the mission had the credit for discovery of water on the lunar surface.

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