India’s mission to the lunar surface

India is on it’s way to the moon for the second time but this time, its a step closer than before. 

With just a week left for touchdown, I think its time for me to pen down about this mission. 

I always enjoy writing about space articles and this time, I  write with pride. As this is from my motherland. India. 

Chandrayaan-2 launched on July 22 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, lifting off on top of the GSLV Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III) rocket just days after NASA celebrated its 50th anniversary  of the Apollo 11 landing. 

This is the first space mission that’s on its way to make a soft landing on the moon’s south pole. Its a great day for Indian space history once again.

The What

This box shaped craft is carrying an orbiter, a lander called Vikram and a six wheeled rover named Pragyan. 

The orbiter weighing 2379 kilos with electric power generation capability of 1000 watts. It will be set to orbit the moon’s polar region with its one year life mission. 

The Lander, Vikram weighs 1471 kilos and electric power generation capability of 650 watts. The lander was named after the father of Indian Space Programme – Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai. 

And the rover, Pragyan, which means “wisdom” in sanskrit. weighs 27 kilos with electric power generation capability of 50 watts. It is a six wheeled robotic vehicle that can travel upto 500 m and uses solar energy to function.

Both the orbiter and the lander will communicate with the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore. However, the rover communicates only with the Lander. Both the rover and lander are expected to work only for half a lunar day, that is, 14 Earth days due to the cold lunar nights. 

The lander-orbiter pair is already on the lunar orbit, will separate on September 2nd 2019. The orbiter will be in a 100m altitude circular polar orbit and the Vikram lander will soft land in the high latitude areas near the south pole, between the two craters, Manzinus C and Simpellius N, on 7th September 2019. 

The Why

All three of them are packed with instruments to conduct scientific experiments. Although the main objective is to check ability to soft land on the Moon’s surface, it is also accompanied with the mission to study the lunar surface. ISRO stated that, “The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.” 

Read more techy details about the mission’s instruments here.

Here are some of the pictures that Chandrayaan 2 captured on its way to the Moon. 

Here is a look at a brief about the mission from ISRO

GSLV MkIII-M1/Chandrayaan2 Mission Launch Kit
Credits and References: ISRO 
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