Chandrayan literally means moon-vehicle, and it is the second mission that is being planned from India to explore Moon. It has an expected launch date of April 2019. Needless to say, Chandrayan is being designed by ISRO and is planned to be launched by GSLV Mk III or Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. The Indian Space Research Organization has developed a rover, lander and an orbiter that will all be launched with a view to adding to the already existing pool of information about Moon.
The aim of Chandrayan 2 would be to soft land a rover and a lander between Simpelius N and Manzinus C that are two craters on the moon. If this mission is successful, then India would be proud to say that they have sent two missions to the moon. This mission will be testing as well as using many new technologies and also conduct many new experiments. The wheeled rover of Chandrayan is so advanced that it will move around the lunar surface and do some chemical analysis on-site. This data will be transmitted to the Earth with the help of the orbiter.
Specifications of Chandrayan 2
As already mentioned, the operator of this mission would be ISRO. The weight of Chandrayan 2 is around 3290 kilograms. This mission would last approximately for one year where the orbiter would be for one year, the Lander for 15 days and the Rover for 15 days. Chandrayan will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center which is in the city of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
How Will It Work?
The plan is that after reaching the lunar orbit of 100 kilometers, the Lander that houses the Rover will separate itself from the Orbiter. There will be a controlled descent of the Lander, and it will be soft land on the surface of the moon that will be already specified. Finally, the Rover will be deployed there. The predecessor of this mission was Chandrayan 1 which was the first mission sent to the moon by India. It was very successful in collecting some valuable data. It even brought some evidence that showed the availability of water on the moon. Therefore, a more advanced space mission has many hopes attached to it.
What Will It Do?
The Chandrayan mission of ISRO will carry with it a Rover of six wheels. This Rover will be running in a semi-autonomous mode as per the ground commands. It will move around the site where it lands. There would be instruments attached to this Rover so that it can observe the surface of the moon and secure some interesting data. This data will be then sent back to India. It will be very helpful in analyzing the lunar soil.
Chandrayan would orbit around the moon to get some valuable data through remote sensing of the moon. This will collect some useful scientific information about various lunar aspects like the topography, elemental abundance, mineralogy, water-ice as well as signatures of hydroxyl and lunar exosphere. Hence there are many things that Chandrayan can potentially do. It will definitely be a big breakthrough.
What Caused the Delay in The Launch of Chandrayan 2?
Initially, Chandrayan was supposed to be launched in October 2018. However, now the date has been pushed to April 2019. So, what caused this delay? According to sources, the delay was initially caused because the Lander that was developed in India was having problems with re-throttling. So, it was sent back to get its design changed. A senior official from ISRO revealed that there were vibrations while re-throttling. This could be because of a problem with thrusters. Therefore, it is better to check the design once again before the launch. Initially, the plan was to launch it through GSLV II, but now, with the changed plan, GSLV III will launch it. However, GSLV III has only launched two vehicles so far. So, there are still talks going on before finalizing it.
Initially, India had a deal with Russia for its Lander, but after one of the biggest failures of Russian space missions with Fobos Grunt Mission, they were under strict technical scrutiny. So, they said that they would not be in a position to deliver the Lander on time. As a result, India called the deal off and decided to make its own Lander.
Thanks to these issues, the launch of Chandrayan 2 has been getting delayed. First, it was expected to be launched in October 2018. Then, it was moved to January 2019 and now the current date of its launch in April 2019.
Despite the delays, Chandrayan 2 is one of the most anticipated missions that will be launched by ISRO. It is sometimes better to delay the mission until they are 100% satisfied. Hopefully, 2019 will see another successful mission by ISRO!