- Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft Successfully launched by vehicle GSLV MkIII-M1 by ISRO from SHAR Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at 02:43 PM IST on 22nd July’19.
- Soft landing of Chandrayaan-2 planned in the South polar region of the Moon on September 7, 2019.
- India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle GSLV MkIII-M1, successfully launched the 3840 kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into an earth orbit today.
- Scientific objectives of Chandrayaan 2 : Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history. Evidence for water molecules discovered by Chandrayaan-1, requires further studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface, below the surface and in the tenuous lunar exosphere to address the origin of water on Moon.
Why South Pole: The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it. In addition, South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.
Landing Position : Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land the lander -Vikram and rover- Pragyan in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south.
- The spacecraft is now revolving round the earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169.7 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 45,475 km. This flight marks the first operational flight of the GSLV Mk III.
- GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle majestically lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh at the scheduled launch time of 1443 Hrs (2:43 pm) Indian Standard Time (IST) with the ignition of its two S200 solid strap-on motors.
- About 16 minutes 14 seconds after lift-off, the vehicle injected Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into an elliptical earth orbit. Immediately after spacecraft separation from the vehicle, the solar array of the spacecraft automatically got deployed and ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru successfully took control of the spacecraft.
- ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan congratulated the launch vehicle and satellite teams.
- Initially launch was scheduled On July 15, 2019 . But due to some technocal issues, launched was rescheduled.
- In the coming days, a series of orbit manoeuvres will be carried out using Chandrayaan-2’s onboard propulsion system. This will raise the spacecraft orbit in steps and then place it in the Lunar Transfer Trajectory to enable the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of the Moon.
- GSLV Mk III is a three-stage launch vehicle developed by ISRO. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage. The vehicle is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
- Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to the moon. It comprises a fully indigenous Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). The Rover Pragyan is housed inside Vikram lander.
- The mission objective of Chandrayaan-2 is to develop and demonstrate the key technologies for end-to-end lunar mission capability, including soft-landing and roving on the lunar surface.
- It aim is to knowledge about the Moon through a detailed study of its topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and atmosphere leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
- After leaving earth orbit and on entering Moon’s sphere of influence, the on-board propulsion system of Chandrayaan-2 will be fired to slow down the spacecraft. This will enable it to be captured into a preliminary orbit around the Moon. Later, through a set of manoeuvres, the orbit of Chandrayaan-2 around the moon will be circularised at 100 km height from the lunar surface.
- Subsequently, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and enters into a 100 km X 30 km orbit around the Moon. Then, it will perform a series of complex braking manoeuvers to soft land in the South polar region of the Moon on September 7, 2019.
- The Rover will roll out from the lander and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of 1 lunar day, which is equal to 14 Earth days. The mission life of the lander is also 1 lunar day. The Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.
- The orbiter had a lift-off weight of about 2,369 kg, while the lander and rover weighed 1,477 kg and 26 kg respectively. The rover can travel up to 500 m (half a kilometre) and relies on electric power generated by its solar panel for functioning.
- The Orbiter carries eight payloads, the lander carries three, and the rover carries two. The Orbiter payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit while the Lander and Rover payloads will perform in-situ measurements near the landing site.
- The Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-2 consists of Indian Deep Space Network, Spacecraft Control Centre and Indian Space Science Data Centre.