India likely to land on Moon on September 6 – Times of India


BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Wednesday said it is looking to launch

Chandrayaan-2

, India’s second lunar mission in the launch window between July 9 and July 16, even as sources said that a lot of work is still pending in taking the project to the launch site.

“All the modules are getting ready for Chandrayaan-2 launch during the window of July 09, to July 16, 2019, with an expected

Moon landing

on September 06, 2019 9 (sic),” Isro said in a statement.

Once Chandrayaan-2 reaches the lunar orbit, Vikram will separate from the orbiter and soft-land at the predetermined site close to the south pole, which had not been explored by other countries.

Isro chairman K Sivan told TOI, “Once Vikram lands on the lunar surface on September 6, rover Prayan will come out of it and roll out on the lunar surface for 300-400 metres. It will spend 14

earth days

on the moon for carrying out different scientific experiments. Altogether, there will be 13 payloads in the spacecraft. Three payloads in rover Pragyan and the other 10 payloads in lander Vikram and orbiter.” The rover will analyse the content of the lunar surface and send data and images back to the Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes, he said.

TOI had reported earlier that Isro missed deadlines last year and one in the first month of this year because the space agency had to accommodate multiple changes after the change in design. Also, the qualification model of the lander (Vikram) had suffered damages during a test further delaying the launch, as first reported by TOI.

The launch of India’s second lunar mission was initially planned in April last year but Isro kept deferring it because of the complexities involved in the mission. In fact, the four-legged Vikram lander suffered a fracture in one of its legs during a test earlier this year. India had also almost lost the race to

Israel

to become the fourth country in the world after Russia, US and China to land the spacecraft on the moon. However with Israel’s Beresheet failing to land on the moon on April 12 this year, Chandrayaan-2’s moon-landing on September 6, if successful, will make India the fourth country in the world to land on the moon.

The landing of the 3,290-kg Chandrayaan-2 craft will be much more difficult than Israel’s Beresheet. While Beresheet tried to touch down on a plain of solidified lava, known as the Sea of Serenity, which has a flattened surface and more exposure to the sun, Chandrayaan-2 will explore the south pole, an uncharted territory. Only China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft had recently in January landed on the moon’s far side, also known as the dark side because it faces away from the Earth and remains comparatively unknown.

India had first launched its moon mission

Chandrayaan-1

, which involved only an orbiter, on October 22, 2008. The spacecraft made more than 3,400 orbits around the moon during which it took hundreds of images of the moon. The Rs 386-crore mission concluded when the communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 29, 2009. Chandrayaan operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95% of its planned objectives.

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