Chandrayaan 2 launch: India’s moon mission simplified

Chandrayaan 2 will attempt to land near the moon’s South Pole; no country has explored this region of the moon before

In this picture released by ISRO Thursday, July 11, 2019, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk 3) or 'Bahubali' is seen at the second launch pad ahead of the launch of Chandrayaan-2, in Sriharikota. The space mission, which aims to place a robotic rover on the moon, is set to be launched on July 15, 2019. ISRO/PTI

India’s set to become the fourth country to join space race by launching a low-cost mission to land a probe on the moon.

The Chandrayaan 2 will blast off from ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, a tropical island off Andhra Pradesh coast, after a 10-year-long build-up. The mission will showcase mankind’s progress in space travel since Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 mission.

Amitabha Ghosh, a scientist for NASA's Rover mission to Mars, said the benefits of Chandrayaan-2 are huge, compared to its cost. "A spacecraft mission of the complexity of Chandrayaan-2 conveys a message that India is capable of delivering on difficult technology development endeavours," said Ghosh.

Chandrayaan 2 objective

The solar-powered rover can travel up to 500 metres and is expected to work for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days.

ISRO chief K Sivan said Vikram's 15-minute final descent "will be the most terrifying moments as we have never undertaken such a complex mission". Sivan said the probe will be looking for signs of water and "a fossil record of the early solar system".

Chandrayaan 2: The cost involved

India has spent about $144 million to get Chandrayaan-2 ready for the 384,400-km trip to the landing spot on the lunar South Pole on September 6.

In comparison, the US has spent about $25 billion on 15 Apollo missions, including the six that put Armstrong and other astronauts on the moon. China, which landed its Chang'e 4 lunar craft in January, spent $8.4 billion on its entire space programme in 2017, according to international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development figures.

Meanwhile, Russia -- the first country to land an unmanned moon rocket in 1966 -- spent over $20 billion at today's values on lunar missions in the 1960s and 70s.

Chandrayaan 2 to set off with India’s most powerful rocket launcher

Almost the entire Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, lander and rover have been designed and made in India.

India’s most powerful rocket launcher GSLV Mk III will carry the 2.4-tonne orbiter.

The spacecraft will carry the 1.4-tonne lander Vikram -- which in turn will take the 27-kg rover Pragyan -- to a high plain between two craters on the lunar South Pole.

Moon landing sites

Chandrayaan 2 launch timing, where to watch live stream

The Chandrayaan-2 launch will take place at 2:51 am on Monday, July 15. Those wanting to watch the Chandrayaan 2 launch live have several choices. The Chandrayaan 2 launch will be live telecast on Doordarshan, which usually covers such launches with commentary and visuals from the space centre’s control room. Besides, the Chandrayaan 2 launch live stream can also be viewed on Doordarshan’s YouTube channel.

 

With AFP inputs

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