India's heavy rocket 'Bahubali' gearing up for Moon

James Marshall
July 11, 2019

Ten years after India's first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch the second and more ambitious Chandrayaan-2.

If this second mission's soft landing goes as planned, India will be just the fourth country to gently touch down on the moon, joining Russian Federation, the USA and China.

Those bright orange flames were missing, as was the earth-shaking roar of rocket engines, but the task was successfully completed as Indian space scientists carried out the first full dress rehearsal ahead of launch of Chandrayaan-2, India's second probe to the Moon, ahead of its flight on Monday, July 15, onboard the huge GSLVMkIII rocket, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range. The payload of Chandrayaan-2 consists of a lunar orbiter, a lunar lander and a lunar rover, and will be launched atop the ISRO-developed GSLV Mk-III rocket.

India successfully completed its first lunar probe mission, Chandrayaan-1, in October 2008. Rover Pragyan will be housed inside lander Vikram and will be deployed after Vikram lands on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-2: Could Helium-3 exploration be one of the objectives? It will also carry its own scientific equipment to conduct experiments for a period of 14 days. The probe collected a lot of significant data over its mission. That orbiter reached the moon on November 8, 2008 and then fired an impacter which struck the south pole. During Chandrayaan-1, the Mini-Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini-SAR) found water-ice deposits in craters on the far side of the moon which was considered as a significant finding.

During the mission, the orbiter will act is a midway point, mediating communications between operators on Earth and the lander and rover.

The space agency wants to begin conducting sustainable lunar surface missions by the late 2020s, which will be conducted from the so-called lunar "Gateway"-a small spaceship for astronauts and science experiments that will orbit the moon, acting as a kind of staging post".

The ISRO has said it chose to explore the south pole as it is possible there is water in the permanently shadowed areas, which could pave the way for future lunar habitation.

Aside from NASA's passive experiment, Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, soft lander and rover will carry the 13 instruments, all of which use Indian technology.

A passive experiment from USA space agency NASA will also be onboard Chandrayaan-2 to help understand the dynamics of Earth's moon system and the lunar interior. Similarly, the lander will facilitate communications between the rover, orbiter and Earth.

The spacecraft's orbit will be raised by a series of manoeuvres to put it on Lunar Transfer Trajectory. Operators will then progressively raise its orbit until it enters the influence of the moon's gravity. Chandrayaan-2 will look to build on this monumental discovery from the ground.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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