Bangalore: India’s second sojourn to the moon, ‘Chandrayaan-2’, would be launched July 15, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced Wednesday, as it is all set for the most complex mission ever undertaken by it.
Under the nearly Rs 1,000 crore mission, the landing on the moon near the South Pole would be September 6 or 7 on an uncharted territory, ISRO chairman K Sivan said.
‘The Lander’, named after the father of the Indian space programme, Vikram Sarabhai, will touch down on a rugged lunar surface in the final descent, which, according to Sivan, would be the ‘most terrifying moment’ of the mission.
“These 15 minutes are going to be terrifying to all of us not only people from ISRO, but for entire India, because the space agency has never undertaken such type of complex flight… This 15 minutes flight is the most complex mission ISRO has ever undertaken,” informed Sivan.
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, the heaviest rocket built by ISRO, from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. ISRO had earlier kept the launch window for the mission from July 9 to July 16.
Pointing out that ‘Chandrayaan 2’ is going to South Pole, a place where nobody else has gone, Sivan said the entire scientific community of the nation and the globe were eagerly waiting for the mission.
According to him, there is both convenience and science involved for choosing the South Pole.
“From the science point of view, the South Pole is under shadow region more than North Pole, so because of this special aspect of South Pole, water is expected to be more there and also presence of more minerals are expected,” informed Sivan.
The spacecraft, with a mass of 3.8 tonne, has three modules – Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
If all goes well, India would be the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to perform a soft landing on the moon and put a rover on it.
The Orbiter will be orbiting around the moon in 100 kmorbit, informed said. From the time of Lander landing on the surface and for the Rover to come out and land on the surface will take four hours.
“Subsequently the rover will be rowing on the moon on its own propulsion at the speed of 1 cm per second and will cover 500 metres in its lifetime,” said Sivan.