Low-priced moon mission puts India among lunar pioneers

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 12, 2019

Chandrayaan-1 orbited the moon a distance of 100 kilometres from its surface, with a mission of chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the lunar satellite.

A passive experiment from U.S. space agency NASA will also be onboard Chandrayaan-2 to help understand the dynamics of Earth's moon system and the lunar interior.

On entering the Moon's sphere of influence, on-board thrusters will slow down the spacecraft for Lunar Capture.

Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the moon, is set to launch on July 15. "The Chandrayaan 2 Mission contains three components and the composite body of Chandrayaan 2 is kept inside GSLV MK-III", he added further, Chandrayaan 2 Mission mainly the satellite portion, including the support from foreign agencies as well as for navigation objective, has cost the country Rs. 603 crore. After launch into earth bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using Orbiter propulsion module.

Chandrayaan-2, equipped with a lander and rover, will observe the lunar surface and send back data which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.

The GSLV will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical Earth parking orbit, enlarging it over days or weeks with thrusts to raise the orbit apogee.

Chandrayaan-2: Could Helium-3 exploration be one of the objectives? After that, the Chandryaan 2 will change its trajectory towards the moon. Meanwhile, Chandrayaan-2's orbiter is expected to remain operational for about a year, sending back information about the moon to ISRO. Chandrayaan 1 was sent to the moon only equipped with an orbiter and an "impactor" that crashed into the Moon's surface near the South Pole.

The chosen landing site is near the lunar south pole, where water ice has been detected in some permanently shadowed craters.

Isro has named the lander "Vikram", after India's space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971) and rover "Pragyan", which in Sanskrit means wisdom.

An employee playfully hugs a cut-out of a crescent moon at the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi, India, Thursday, July 11, 2019. Chief among these goals is the ability to understand the composition of the moon, allowing for a deeper understanding of its origin and its evolution. Similarly, the lander will facilitate communications between the rover, orbiter and Earth.

According to ISRO, on the day of landing, the lander Vikram will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex manoeuvres comprising rough braking and fine braking.

The orbiter will operate for a year in a circular orbit around the poles and carries radar and spectrometers that will enable study of the moon's surface and exosphere.

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