Chandrayaan-2: 20-hour countdown for India’s second moon mission begins

Pablo Tucker
July 22, 2019

"The (pre-launch) rehearsal has been successfully completed", he told reporters at the Chennai airport on brief a stopover enroute here.

Chandrayaan-2 weighing 3.85 ton consisting of the orbiter, the lander and the rover have a total of 13 payloads to study the moon and a facility for passive experiment.

"Chandrayaan 2 is ready to take a billion dreams to the Moon - now stronger than ever before!" it said on Thursday.

This mission will make India the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to carry out a soft landing on Moon.

Provided Chandrayaan-2 launches on time, it's expected to reach the moon on September 6, 2019. There is a lot of scientific testing to be done regarding the mission.

Officials said the moon mission has nine phases starting from Earth-bound phase to landing. But one of the instruments on board, called Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was made to crashland on the lunar surface.

The country's first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, orbited around the moon in 2008 but did not land on the lunar surface. Vikram has the capability to communicate with IDSN at Byalalu near Bangalore, as well as with the Orbiter and Pragyan rover. From there Chandrayaan-2 will travel for almost 3.844 lakh km carrying the lander and orbiter.

India's mission comes 50 years after Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon, an occasion celebrated globally on Saturday. Space scientists view the moon as a test-bed for deep space ventures.

The lander and rover are headed for the lunar south pole, exploring a scientifically important region that has been shown to contain water ice.

"It is because of these reasons that Chandrayaan-2 has attracted attention not only from the Indian scientists but also from global scientists", he said.

The snag took place when liquid propellant was being loaded in the rocket's indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine.

Veteran scientists had heaped praise on ISRO for calling off the launch rather hurrying into a major disaster. The detection of a glitch at the last minute had led to the launch being called off on its earlier proposed date, 15 July. But it was shifted to July 15. Otherwise, the lander could crash into the lunar surface. "Thank you for giving us more than enough of the latter", Isro said last week thanking people for supporting its decision.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2's landing site, which is at a latitude of about 70 degrees south, is the southernmost for any mission till date.

Then the 27-kg "Pragyan" meaning "wisdom" in Sanskrit and a six-wheeled robotic vehicle, will set out on its job of collecting information on lunar surface.

It is expected to work for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days, and will look for signs of water and "a fossil record of the early solar system".

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