Chennai: ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has finally set a launch timeframe for India’s second mission to the Moon – Chandrayaan-2. The second lunar mission is already making headlines as it is said to cost roughly Rs. 800 crore and is expected to be cheaper than the Hollywood sci-fi movie Interstellar (which had a production cost of Rs. 1,062 crores). ISRO has confirmed that it is aiming for an April launch of the Chandrayaan-2 satellite to the moon and this time it plans to send a rover to explore the lunar surface.
If the April launch of the Chandrayaan-2, the country’s second mission to the Moon, is not possible, then the ISRO will aim for a launch by October. “We are aiming for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 in April. In case we are unable to do so, then we will try for a launch by October,” Indian Space Research Organisation chairman K Sivan told reporters.
The Chandrayaan-2 satellite would comprise an orbiter, lander and six-wheeled rover which would move around the landing site and instruments on it will send back data that would be useful in analysing the lunar soil. After reaching the lunar orbit, the lander housing the rover will separate from the orbiter. After a controlled descent, the lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy the rover.
Sivan said scientists were also gearing up for the launch of communication satellite GSAT-6 on-board GSLV-F08, scheduled later this month. “Our immediate plan is a GSLV flight. We are planning to launch it by the end of this month. After that we plan to launch navigation satellite IRNSS-1I,” he said.
The GSAT-6A is a communication satellite which will provide a platform for developing technologies. It would be useful in satellite-based mobile communication applications. The IRNSS-1I is the eighth satellite to join the NavIC Navigation satellite constellation, which would be sent to a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit on-board PSLV as the previous IRNSS-1H launched on August 31, 2017, had become an “unsuccessful” mission.
On asking, Sivan said the ISRO was working on developing a mobile application for the benefit of fishermen. “We are working on the app (application). It will inform fishermen where large quantities of fish are available. It will also give them messages about the conditions of the sea. It is in production mode (currently),” he said.
In January, the ISRO successfully launched PSLV-C40 carrying Cartosat-2 Series satellite from the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 110 km from here.