Lander glitch benches Chandrayaan-2

Vikram, the lander on India’s ambitious mission that envisages a probe on the Moon, suffered minor damage in two of its four legs during a test late February, putting Chandrayaan-2 on the bench until May. Finding a suitable launch window could see the mission take off only in the second half of the year. A source said the rover and orbiter were in good health and did well on all parameters in tests. However, after the Lander Drop Test, it was found Vikram needed to be strengthened in its legs. “It appears not all parameters were set correctly,” the source added. ISRO has formed a 12-member special task force, headed by Mr Srinivasan RK from UR Rao Satellite Centre, to address the anomaly during the Lander Drop Test and submit a report to the centre director Mr Kunhikrishnan P. ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan told: “Some structural damage was found. We’ll do some modifications, but we cannot say Chandrayaan-2 is delayed as we’re looking for an optimal launch window.” This mission, unlike Chandrayaan-1, involves a lander unloading a rover to study and take measurements. ISRO, which has been aiming to launch Chandrayaan-2 for a while, thought it could achieve it in April after several changes to Vikram’s configuration resulted in two missed targets — October 2018 and January 2019. The committee will propose modifications and everything needs to be tested again. We’ll need more than two months to launch,” the source said. An option to save time is to simulate the weight to test the legs separately and later integrate them. “We’ll need a launch window that provides clear 14 days given that our systems will be powered completely by solar energy,” Dr Sivan said. Another scientist said the site chosen for the landing is known to have evening sunlight for 14 days and complete darkness for another fourteen days. “We need the Earth, Moon and Sun positioned in the right place. We want to get clear sunlight for 14 days before finalising the date,” Sivan said. ISRO to launch five military satellites ISRO will launch five advanced military satellites — four new-series Risat satellites and one Cartosat-3 satellite — this year that will enhance surveillance capabilities of India, reports Mr Surendra Singh. The resolution of Cartosat-3 will be 0.2 metre that can capture images of a gun from space. Two new remote sensing Gisat satellites with military and civilian use will also be launched. New Delhi: Starting 2019 with the lift-off of two DRDO satellites, ISRO will launch five military satellites this year that will enhance surveillance capabilities of India. It is scheduled to launch four new series Risat satellites and an advanced Cartosat-3 satellite. ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan told, “In May, PSLV-C46 rocket will launch Risat-2B and thereafter in June-end, PSLV-C47 will launch Cartosat-3. Cartosat-3 is the advanced version with the capability to zoom up to a resolution of 0.2 metre, which is considered the best in the world.” The resolution of Cartosat-3 will be so refined that it will be able to capture clear images of small objects like a gun. Sivan said Risat2BR1 will be launched in July, Risat-2BR2 in October and Risat-1A in November. “We will launch a new series of remote-sensing satellite Gisat-1 and Gisat-2 in September and November, which have both military and civilian use.


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