India's moon mission Chandrayaan-2 launched 22 July: All you need to know

Chandrayaan-2 on 14 August, 2019 successfully entered Lunar Transfer Trajectory. It is expected that the spacecraft will reach the orbit of the Moon on 20 August. Chandrayaan-2 will make India the 4th nation to soft land a rover on Moon after Russia, US and China. Now, it is another step closer to the Moon. What is Chandrayaan-2 mission, how it will collect data, how many payloads it has etc. Let us have a look!          
Aug 14, 2019 12:49 IST
Chandrayaan-2: Second Mission to Moon

India's second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 was successfully launched at 2:43 pm on 22 July, 2019 from Sriharikota space station. A new history is created in India. It is a proud moment for all of us.  People will be able to see the darker side of the Moon. 

Chandrayaan-2 moon mission is totally an indigenous mission which will land on Moon after 48 days. Earlier Chandryaan-2 was decided to launch on 15 July, 2019 but due to some technical problem it was delayed. Chandrayaan-2 is now ready to launch from GSLV-Mk-III rocket. No doubt the Chandrayaan-2 mission comes nearly 11 years after India's first expedition to the moon in October 2008. Therefore, space agency said it is better to be delayed rather than any complications.

It is one of the biggest project till date. The journey of Chandrayaan-2 is around 3.84 lakh km to Moon. It will be injected into an earth parking 170 x40400 km orbit. The weight of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft is approximately 3850 kilograms. It will collect data on water, minerals and formations of rock. 

 Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft have three modules a Lander (Vikram), an Orbiter and Rover (Pragyan).

The primary objective of ISRO to launch Chandrayaan-2 is to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface. Scientific goals are to study lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.

Chandrayaan-2 landing near the Pole
The Lander and Rover of Chandrayaan-2 are targeted for a location of about 600 kilometres or 375 miles approx from the South Pole. Let us tell you that it would be the first time any mission touched down so far from the equator. The Orbiter and Lander modules will be mechanically interfaced and stacked together like an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle where as the Rover is housed inside the Lander.
After launching, the integrated module will reach the Moon orbit by using the Orbiter propulsion module. Then, Lander will automatically separate from the Orbiter and land at the site close to lunar South Pole.

Breakdown of entire payload of Chandrayaan-2

1. Rover also known as Pragyan will have two instruments on board. On the surface of the Moon the instrument will test the mineral and chemical compositions and also about soil and rocks formation. Data on and around the South Pole will be collected and sent. That is it will send information from the moon to Vikram Lander. Lander will send data to Orbiter. Then the Orbiter will send it to the ISRO centre. This whole process will take about 15 minutes. So, it can be said that information sent from Pragyan Robot will take about 15 minutes to reach the ISRO centre in India.

2. Lander also known as Vikram. ISRO has named Lander after the founder of ISRO and the father of Indian Space Program Vikram Sarabhai. The five-legged lander will have three instruments onboard. They are the Radio Anatomy of Moon-Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and an Atmosphere Probe (Rambha) that will measure the density of the lunar sub surface and changes around it. Further, the Chandra Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) will be used to measure the thermal temperature around the South Pole of the moon. And thirdly, is the instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) which will measure the seismicity or quake or tremor-potential of the region.

It will use scientifically for 15 days. Its initial design was made by ISRO's Space Application Centre Ahmedabad. Later, it was developed by the URSC of Bengaluru. ISRO has made an indigenous Lander on Russia's refusal.

3. Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 will be installed at 100 km above the moon and consists of eight instruments. Specifications of these instruments are not provided that will be loaded on to the rocket. But there will be an Imaging Infra-red Spectometer (IIRS) which will try to identify minerals and indicators of hydroxyl and water molecules. It will operate on solar power. It will be circling the information from Lander and Rover to the ISRO Centre. It will also bring the command sent from ISRO to the lander and the rover. It was generated by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and handed it to ISRO in 2015.


The profile of the Mission

As discussed above Chandrayaan-2 begin its journey to Moon on 22 July, 2019. The Lander-Orbiter pair will go into an initial elliptical (180 X 24000 km altitude) Earth orbit, followed by a trans-lunar injection. Both will go into an initial elliptical lunar orbit. After orbit insertion, the Lander and the Orbiter separate. The Orbiter evolves into a 100 km circular polar orbit and the Lander breaks from orbit and lands on the surface in the high latitude areas near the South Pole. The Orbiter portion of the mission is planned to last 1 year. The rover will be deployed using a ramp shortly after the landing and is planned for 14-15 days that is one period of lunar daylight.

Note: India's first lunar probe was Chandrayaan-1 mission which was launched in October 2008. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor but did not have a rover like Chandrayaan-2.

Chandrayaan-2: Facts in brief

Operator - Indian Space research Organisation
Type of Mission - Lunar orbiter, Lander and Rover
Duration of Mission - Orbiter: 1 year
                                Lander: >15 Days
                               Rover: >15 Days
Launch Mass - aprox. 3850 Kg
Mass of Payload - Orbiter: approx 2,379 Kg
                          Lander: approx. 1,471 Kg
                         Rover: approx. 27 Kg
Date of Launch - Not yet announced by ISRO
Rocket - GSLV Mk III
Launch Site - Satish Dhawan Space Centre

Launch Date: 22 July, 2019

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