Isro all set for a second go at Chandrayaan-2 launch

Isro all set for a second go at Chandrayaan-2 launch

The second launch attempt comes exactly a week after the first was aborted in the last hour. (PTI Photo)

Propelled by a heady mix of hope, anticipation and extreme caution, India's most ambitious lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 is all set to soar moonward from Sriharikota on Monday, precisely at 2.43 pm. The second launch attempt comes exactly a week after the first was aborted in the last hour.

Will it be second time lucky for the GSLV Mk III rocket launcher, dubbed 'Baahubali' for its massive power and size? As millions watched, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) had dramatically called off last Monday's launch 56 minutes and 24 seconds before lift-off.

The GSLV's role is clear: To lift off with the Rs 978 crore Chandryaan-2, integrating an Orbiter, a Lander called Vikram and a Rover dubbed Pragyan. If the Rover manages to accomplish a soft-landing on the lunar surface near the South Pole, India would be the fourth nation to do so.

Only the United States, Russia and China have managed to do this, although Israel tried and crash-landed its Rover. But Pragyan could make a world of difference if it digs deeper for water first spotted by the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.

Lifting off at 2.43 pm on Monday, the mission will have just a one-minute launch window. At an altitude of 62 km and 131.30 seconds after launch, the GSLV's strap-ons will separate. By the time the altitude touches 114.5 km, the payload fairings' separation will be complete.

Only after 974.30 seconds (16 minutes) and at an altitude of 181.6 km will the Chandrayaan-2 mission components fully separate and leave the earth-bound phase. At this stage, the mission's initial velocity would be 10.3 km/second.