Chandrayaan-3 launch may happen next year: ISRO

Chandrayaan-3 launch may happen next year: ISRO

ISRO Chairman K Sivan during a press conference at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)

The new year will see an unmanned preliminary mission with a humanoid, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman K Sivan announced to the media here on Wednesday.

After an intense selection process, four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel were selected to be the astronauts for India's first manned space mission, Gaganyaan.

This will be further filtered before the mission's final launch sometime in 2021.

The selected astronauts will undergo extensive training in Russia that begins on the third week of January.

Through 2020, Isro will focus on astronaut training and a multitude of system tests for Gaganyaan. “We will be testing the human rating of the propulsion systems, the crew escape systems and other critical components,” said Sivan.

The Gaganyaan mission will undertake several scientific experiments, six of which have already been finalised. Four of these are related to micro gravity experiments while four are linked to bio sciences.

Further, Isro's 2020 agenda includes the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon, a followup of last year's Chandrayaan-2 project that failed to accomplish its intended soft-landing on the lunar surface. The new mission will have the same objective as its predecessor.

Since Chandrayaan-2's Orbiter component is now in good shape and projected to go around the Moon for another seven years, the new mission will incorporate only a Lander, Rover and a propulsion module, explained Sivan. The total cost of the project will be Rs 615 crore, the launch phase included.

The mission is expected to take off either in December 2021 or early 2022. 

On the cost of the project, Sivan said, "the mission would cost Rs 250 crore." The launch of Chandrayaan 3 may shift to next year, he said. 

K Sivan said although the Government of India had recently approved the project, the launch may be shifted to the next year. Union Minister Jitendra Singh had on Tuesday declared that the project would be completed in 2020.

To a question on what went wrong with Vikram lander, he said it was due to velocity reduction failure. "The velocity reduction failure was due to internal reasons," he said.

Isro has already commenced work on the project. “It is going ahead in full steam. Gagangyaan and Chandrayaan-3 projects are being undertaken parallely. Chandrayaan-3 will take about 14-16 months. For Gaganyaan, we will work with a specific target,” Sivan informed.

(With inputs from PTI)

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