India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled for lift-off during the launch window of July 9-16, 2019 with an expected moon landing on September 6, 2019. ISRO has announced that preparations are on in full swing for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III or GSLV Mk III, dubbed "The Bahubali”, to carry India's spacecraft to the moon.
Here are 8 things to know about the mission:
- Chandrayaan-2 is a 3.8 ton spacecraft with three modules on board viz. Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) & Rover (Pragyan).
- The Orbiter and Lander modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. The Rover is housed inside the Lander.
- After launch into earth bound orbit by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using Orbiter propulsion module. Subsequently, Lander will separate from the Orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site close to lunar South Pole. The Rover will carry out scientific experiments on the lunar surface.
- Instruments are also mounted on Lander and Orbiter for carrying out scientific experiments.
- The orbiter will orbit 100 km from the lunar surface. ISRO Chairman K Sivan had said in January, "We are going to land at a place where nobody else has gone-the Moon's South Pole... it is unexplored region."
- The spacecraft will have 13 payloads (8 on Orbiter, 3 on Lander and 2 on Rover) or scientific instruments on board.
- India is also carrying an instrument from American space agency NASA. Dr K Sivan said, "We are not charging anything for this American instrument, it is being flown on a friendly basis.”
- According to ISRO, "this is a passive instrument" which implies that it will not be switched on but will be used by NASA to bounce lasers it points on this special equipment from Earth. Using this mirror, American scientists on Earth can measure the exact distance between the location of the lander and Earth.