India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its ambitious deep space mission on Monday (22nd July) from its spaceport at Sriharikota on the eastern shore in Andhra Pradesh. Billed as one of the most challenging missions ever according to ISRO Chief K. Sivan, the launch was initially scheduled for 15th July 2019 but had to be rescheduled due to a technical snag.
In a swift operation, the ISRO scientists normalized the spacecraft and launcher in 24 hours and corrected the snag in the next 36 hours, said Sivan after the launch.
ISRO will carry out 15 crucial manoeuvres in the next six weeks and finally bring the Chandrayaan-2 around the Moon for a soft landing near its the South Pole.
Chandrayaan-2 - an orbiter, lander and rover, is scheduled to land on the Moon on the 48th day or 7th September 2019, covering a distance of about 384,000 Km. It carries 14 payloads to carry out experiments.
The success of the mission will take India to the “Big Boy Space Club” as so far only the US, Russia and China have accomplished this feat. It will be the first space mission to attempt to soft-land the lander –Vikram and rover Pragyan in a high plain between two craters at a latitude of about 70 degrees south.
The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because the area there remains in the shadows and is much larger than its the North Pole. There is the possibility of the presence of water, and craters in the cold traps could contain a fossil record of the early Solar System. India’s first Lunar Mission in 2008 had identified traces of water on the Moon.
The 3,850 kg spacecraft was fired on a massive rocket, GSLV Mark III, which had a 100 per cent success rate, with two launches and one sub-orbital flight. It is India’s most powerful launcher to date and is entirely designed and fabricated in the country.
Chandrayaan-2 is the cheapest among Moon Missions so far. Its total cost is $142 million less than half the budget of the recently released Hollywood movie Avengers: Endgame.