Soaring to the moon

Soaring to the moon

With China landing its robotic spacecraft on the far side of the moon, earlier this year, in

a first ever attempt, India too have successfully launched, Chandrayaan-2, a sequel of

Chandrayaan-1, launched by ISRO, a decade before. The article details about the launch of

Chandrayaan-2 and enlists the uses of technologies for deep space missions.

Glimpse at Mission Chandrayaan-1:

● Chandrayaan 1 was the first Lunar mission by India launched on 22 October 2008.

● With the lift-off mass of 1380 Kg, it was launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

(PSLV C11) from Sriharikota.

● Mission Chandrayaan 1 was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.

● Chandrayaan 1 was successful in making more than 3,400 orbits around the moon.

● Key Achievements of Chandrayaan-1:

○ The Chandrayaan-1 led to a path-breaking discovery in the world of

space-science by discovering the traces of water on the Moon surface.

○ It also detected Magnesium, Aluminium and Silicon along with the Water Ice on

lunar surface.

○ It helped to map 3-D Lunar surface at 5 Km resolution through the Terrain

Mapping Camera.

Mission Chandrayaan-2:

● This is the second lunar mission by ISRO after Chandrayaan 1 in October 2008.

● This is the first-ever mission to be spearheaded by two women, Muthyya Vanita (Project

Director) and Ritu Karidhal (Mission Director).

● This will be the first time for landing a rover on the Moon’s south polar region.

● India will be the 4th country to soft land rover on the surface of the moon after Russia,

America and China.

● This is the first operational flight of the indigenously developed Geosynchronous Satellite

Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III-M1).

● The GSLV Mk-III-M1 vehicle, carrying 3840 kg of Chandrayaan spacecraft (the orbiter,

the lander (Vikram) and the rover (Pragyan)) is lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space

Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

● Objectives of Mission Chandrayaan 2:

Following are the mission objectives of Chandrayaan 2:

○ to develop and demonstrate the key technologies like soft landing and roving on

the surface for end-to-end lunar mission capability.

○ To study the origin and evolution of the Moon.

○ To study the Lunar topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition,

thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere.

○ To mao the lunar surface and study the water ice and hydroxyl in the south polar


● GSLV Mk-III-M1 Vehicle:

○ It is a three-stage (solid, liquid and upper cryogenic) launch vehicle developed by


○ The vehicle has two solid

strap-ons (S-200), a core liquid

booster and a cryogenic upper


○ The vehicle is designed to carry 4

ton class of satellites into

Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit

(GTO) or about 10 tons to Low

Earth Orbit (LEO).

● Orbiter:

○ Lift-off weight- 2369 Kg

○ It will orbit the Moon at an altitude

of 100 Km.

○ Mission life of orbiter- 1 year.

○ It will be carrying an Orbiter High

Resolution Camera for

high-resolution remote sensing


○ The imaging infrared spectrometer will help to look for signatures indicating the

presence of water.

○ The terrain mapping camera, with 3-D mapping, will also enable to study the

vertical temperature gradient and thermal conductivity of the lunar surface, and

lunar seismicity.

● Vikram Lander:

○ Lift-off weight - 1477 Kg

○ Mission life of lander- 1 Lunar day (14 Earth days)

○ Named after Vikram Sarabhai, the lander will be housing the Rover (Pragyan).

○ It will relay the data analysed and collected by the Rover to the Earth station.

○ It will make a soft landing in a high plain between two craters — Manzinus C and

Simpelius N — at a latitude of about 70° South on 7th September 2019.

● Pragyan Rover:

○ Lift-off weight - 26 Kg

○ Mission life of rover- 1 Lunar day (14 Earth days)

○ The rover can travel upto 500 m.

○ The Rover will carry out experiments on the lunar surface by rolling out from the


○ It will be operating on a solar power.

○ It will perform on-sight chemical analysis and send the data to the lander.

Sequels Ahead:

● After successful launch of Chandrayaan-2, ISRO is planning for the nation’s third Lunar

shot, Chandrayaan-3, around 2024, to bring soil and rock samples back from the lunar

South Pole.

● Chandrayaan-3 was first announced in the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum

APRSAF-24 held in Bengaluru in 2017.

● It will be a ‘joint lunar polar exploration mission’ of ISRO, in partnership with the Japan


Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).


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