Current Affairs 26 March 2019 Digest 1: Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA instruments; ISRO to launch 29 satellites

Chandrayaan-2, the second moon mission Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be carrying laser retroreflector arrays owned by the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Mar 26, 2019 11:23 IST
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Story 2: Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA’s laser instruments to Moon

Chandrayaan-2, the second moon mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be carrying laser retroreflector arrays owned by the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Besides Chandrayaan 2, the laser retroreflector arrays will also be carried to the Moon aboard the Israeli lander Beresheet, which is due to touch down on April 11, 2019.

The announcement regarding the same was made during the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in Texas in the third week of March 2019.

Laser retroreflector

The laser retroreflector arrays allow scientists to make accurate measurements of the distance to the Moon.

Retroreflectors are basically sophisticated mirrors that enable scientists on Earth to shoot them with lasers and study the light that is reflected back.

These signals will help scientists in precisely locating the lander and can be used to calculate the distance from Earth to the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2 Mission

Built with a total expense of Rs 800 crore, the launch of second phase of Chandrayaan mission will come a decade after the maiden mission, Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008.

Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3 in April 2019.

The 3,290-kg spacecraft will orbit around the Moon to study its conditions and collect data of its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.

The mission's lander has been named as ‘Vikram as a tribute to Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of Indian Space Programme who served as the Chairman of ISRO during 1963-71.

With the landing of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on the Moon, India will become the fifth country in the world to achieve the feat after Soviet Union in 1959, the US in 1969, China in December 2013, and Israel in 2019.

India's first mission to the Moon: Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1 was India's first mission to the moon.

It was launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on October 22, 2008 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket.

It operated for almost a year between October 2008 and August 2009.

Its major goal was to collect data about the moon's geology, mineralogy and topography.

The spacecraft is best known for helping scientists to discover evidence of water molecules on the moon.

The spacecraft carried 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria.

The mission was concluded on August 29, 2009 when Chandrayaan-1 lost communication with the Earth.

Story 2: ISRO to launch 29 satellites including EMISAT

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 29 satellites including the primary payload EMISAT on April 1, 2019.

The PSLV-C45 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), carrying these satellites onboard, will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.


Weighing 436 kg, the EMISAT Satellite has been developed for monitoring radar network by India.

EMISAT is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.

It will be placed in an orbit of about 753 km altitude.

The customer payloads are from Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. They will be launched into space at an altitude of about 505 km.

Rocket to be converted into a payload platform

Generally, after the launch mission is over, the rocket engine is left discarded as space debris. However, the ISRO uses the engine for experiments.

Once the satellites are put into orbit by PSLV-C45, this fourth stage of the rocket will be brought down, propelled and used as a platform for different experiments by Indian institutions including ISRO.

The rocket will be converted into a payload platform carrying three experimental payloads:

Experimental payload



Automatic Identification System (AIS)


For Maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships

Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS)

AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), India

To assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data

Advanced Retarding Potential Analyser for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS)

Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)

For the structural and compositional studies of ionosphere

This will be the second time in a series that ISRO will use the launch rocket for experiments. Earlier in the last PSLV mission also, it adopted the same innovative method.

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