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Chandrayaan-2 to take 48 days; Apollo-11 took 4 days to land on Moon, know why?

Chandrayaan-2 has recently completed its final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre. It will take 48 days while Apollo-11 took just four days.

Aug 9, 2019 13:42 IST
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Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-2 will take 48 days to reach Moon whereas missions launched by USSR and USA reached on the Moon within a few days. Luna-2 by USSR landed on the Moon in just 34 hours while Apollo-11 took just four days.

India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 has recently completed its final earth-bound orbit-raising manoeuvre. ISRO has mentioned in a tweet that manoeuvre led the spacecraft to reach the farthest point from the Earth, at nearly one lakh-forty three thousand kilometres. To understand why Chandrayaan-2 is taking more than a month (48 days), we must understand build, speed and weight carried by spacecraft.

The technology used by Saturn-V

NASA had used Saturn-V, a super heavy spacecraft launcher, to travel at more than 39,000km per hour. The powerful rocket had a lifting capability of 43 tonnes, including the lunar module, service module and command module housing the crew capsule. Saturn V had three stages to reach on the Moon; in its third stage, it had put the modules (command with crew capsule, service and lunar modules) into the trans-lunar trajectory soon after orbiting Earth for the second time. The spacecraft covered 3.8 lakh kilometres distance in just four days only because of powerful engines.

About long route of Chandrayaan-2

India doesn’t have that much powerful rocket to hurl Chandrayaan-2 on a straight path to the Moon. GSLV-Mk-III has a limited lifting capacity of four tonnes while Saturn-V had 43 tonnes. ISRO chose a circuitous route to take advantage of Earth’s gravity that will help slingshot the craft towards the Moon. ISRO will use Moon’s gravitational pull to reach on the Moon. It will take 29 days to reach the lunar orbit which is the most cost-effective way.

Chandrayaan-2 Vs Apollo-11

GSLV MK-III (Chandrayaan-2)

Saturn-V (Apollo-11)

Height - 43.43 metres

Height - 110.2 metres

Vehicle Diameter: 4 metres

Vehicle Diameter: 10.1 metres

Weight of the heaviest payload: 3,136 kg

Weight of the heaviest payload: Weight of the highest payload: 48,600 kg

Unmanned Mission

Manned Mission

Agency – ISRO

Agency - NASA

Comparison between Apollo-11 and Chandrayaan-2

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) invested Rs 978 crore (USD 138 million) in Chandrayaan-2 as compared to NASA’s USD 185 million in the 1960s.
• ISRO has spent Rs 375 crore (USD 142 million) on building the GSLV-Mk-III rocket while NASA spent USD 110 million in the 1960s which has a current value of about USD 700 million.
• Apollo-11 was a manned mission and Chandrayaan-2 is an unmanned Moon mission. Since it was a manned mission so that as soon as the landing was important.
• Height of GSLV-Mk-III is 43.43 metres while Saturn-V had 110.2 metres high.
• Payload capacity (Lower orbit earth) of Saturn was 140,000 kg however, Chandrayaan-2’s payload capacity (Lower orbit earth) is just 8,000 kg.

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