The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced the postponement of its much-awaited second lunar mission — Chandrayaan 2. The mission was expected to be launched in October this year but ISRO says it will now conduct it in the first quarter of 2019.
"We are aiming to launch the mission on January 3 next year, but the window to land on the lunar surface is open until March 2019. Chandrayaan-2 mission is the most complex mission attempted by ISRO so far. The mission has three components — orbiter, lander, and rover. We set up a committee of eminent scientists from across the country which studied the project and suggested changes. It is nothing less than the Apollo mission," ISRO Chairman K. Sivan told reporters in Bengaluru.
ISRO has increased the weight of Chandrayaan-2 by 600 kg as the space scientists had noticed during experiments that after the moon lander was ejected, the satellite would shake. So they decided that design modification was required for landing and the mass had to be increased.
The total estimated cost of the mission is about INR 8 billion ($124 million), which includes INR 2 billion ($31 million) at the cost of launching and INR 6 billion ($93 million) for the satellite.
ISRO has pointed out that the success rate of lunar landing missions is less than 50% as 27 had failed out of 47 lunar landings.