Isro working on landing tech

Isro working on landing tech

Senior scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Director of Isro Satellite Centre (ISAC), S K Shivakumar said the space agency will focus on developing the lander and rover technology, which are crucial to next major space programmes of landing a spacecraft on moon and Mars.

He said the development of technologies and materials for the second moon and Mars missions will be completely indigenous, fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream call to the nation.

Sharing his perceptions on India’s second moon and Mars missions, he said the orbit of the current Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) could have been much better.

“There is scope to improvement. The Mars mission is actually a technology demonstrator. We have shown that our design works well. So, proving the technology is over. Now, we could look at what more can be done,” Shivakumar opined. Asked what he meant specifically,

..Shivakumar said: “There could have been more science experiments and experiments with greater impact than what we have now. We could have had more maturity in the Mars satellite in terms of payloads and experiments. We will request the Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) to review this. The recommendations and improvements can be taken up over the next three years. It would be ideal for us to launch Mars II in 2018. The 2016 window would be too close to usher in and stabilise changes.”

He said the instruments are functioning as per expectations and plans and if more complex data needs to be unearthed, the capabilities of the instruments need to be more intense.

The selection of instruments can be changed in the second mission. Prior to the second Mars mission or at about the same time, the second moon mission would have to be taken up. Chandrayaan II, he explained, would be more complex because Isro has not yet developed the lander and rover technologies.

“We need to look at landing technologies, which is relatively new to us and will take time to master. The 2018 time frame, therefore, would be ideal for both missions. Once we master the landing technologies with the second moon mission, we can learn from that to handle landing on Mars in the second mission.”

Isro has two time frames for the second Mars mission– 2016 and 2018. Mars comes closest to earth every two years which is why Isro grabbed the 2014 window opportunity and demonstrated its capability.

 As it would take time to learn and develop new technologies, Isro will have to skip the 2016 window.

When the 2018 window opens up, Isro would be ready to test whether its rover and lander will actually land on moon and Mars and operate through robotic commands.
DH News Service

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