Chandrayaan-2: ISRO gears up for ‘most complex’ moon mission on July 15

India’s second sojourn to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, would be launched on July 15, Indian Space Research Organisation announced, 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 on September 6 or 7 of 2019 on an uncharted territory, ISRO chairman Dr 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 Dr K Sivan, would be the “most terrifying moment” of the mission. “This 15 minutes is 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,” he said.  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.  The ISRO had earlier kept the launch window for the mission from July 9 to July 16.  Soft-landing on the south pole of the moon, a territory that has never been visited by any spacecraft, is considered the most challenging part of the mission.  Pointing out Chandrayaan 2 is going to South Pole, a place where nobody else has gone, Dr K 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 more minerals are expected to be there,” he added.  “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,” he added.  “Whole country is waiting for this Chandrayaan-2 mission, yes ISRO has slipped (dates) many times, now ISRO has firmed up the date of launch, it is July 15 early morning at 2:51,” Dr K Sivan told reporters here.  Chandrayaan 2 will also have the credit of being India’s first interplanetary mission to be steered by two women- with Mrs M Vanitha as Project Director and Mrs Ritu Karidhal as Mission Director.  Chandrayaan will carry 13 Indian payloads (8 on orbiter, 3 on lander and 2 on rover) and one passive experiment from NASA.  The mission cost of Chandrayaan-2 with regard to the satellite was Rs 603 crore, he noted.  The cost of GSLV MK IIIis Rs 375 crore.


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