Published: Mon, July 22, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

India Gears Up for Second Moon Mission, Week After ISRO Aborted Attempt

India Gears Up for Second Moon Mission, Week After ISRO Aborted Attempt

Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled for launch at 2.43 pm on Monday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

Cause of Chandrayaan-2 launch snag identified, remedial action has been taken.

Fifty-eight years after Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut, became the first human being to orbit the Earth, and 50 years after the American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation amidst much hoopla and in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and more than 5,000 invited spectators, scheduled the launch of India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, at 2.50 am on 15 July.

"All preparatory work for #Chandrayaan-2 launch completed". It is also the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology, and the first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology. The lift-off will begin at 2.43pm IST, and it will be live streamed for the world to see.

The countdown on 15 July was stopped 56 minutes before launch after a "technical snag was observed in [the] launch vehicle system", according to Isro. Components of the three-stage launcher include S200 solid rocket boosters, L110 liquid stage, and the C25 upper stage. But one of the instruments on board, called Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was made to crashland on the lunar surface.

India successfully carried out its first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, almost 11 years ago. India does not have a rocket powerful enough to hurl Chandrayaan-2 on a direct path. Under the mission's plan, the orbiter will circle the Moon for a year and the lander will touch down on the lunar South Pole, with the rover then carrying out experiments for 14 Earth days (or one lunar day).

The distance between the Earth and the moon is about 3.844 lakh km.

"There will be 15 terrifying minutes for scientists once the lander is released and is hurled towards the south pole of the Moon", Dr Sivan said.

Almost 1,000 engineers and scientists have worked on this mission. "Thereafter, the system performance is normal", it said.

Gauhar believes that the scientists stay under pressure till the last moment while launching any complex mission.

"Chandrayaan-2 is an indigenous mission".

"Evidence for water molecules discovered by Chandrayaan-1, requires further studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface, below the surface and in the tenuous lunar exosphere to address the origin of water on Moon", ISRO notes. The orbiter and the lander are capable of sending data to the ISRO's Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bengaluru.

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