With the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2 , the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday afternoon will take another giant leap in the aerospace sector. Chandrayaan-2 is India's second Moon mission after Chandrayaan-1, which will be deployed on the far side of the lunar surface. The Chandrayaan-1 mission was launched in October 2008 which had the credit for discovery of water on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on Monday at 2.43 pm from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on-board GSLV Mk-III. As soon as Chandrayaan-2 succeeds in a soft landing on the Moon, it will be a historic moment for India and as well as ISRO. And, we hope that Indian space agency will do it today.
Before Chandrayaan-2 takes off, let’s find out how it is different from India's first moon mission Chandrayaan-1:
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs approximately 3290 kilograms and it would launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (or GSLV Mk) rocket. Dubbed as ‘Baahubali’, the GSLV Mk-III rocket which stands 43 metres tall.
Chandrayaan-2 has three elements including the Rover, the Lander and the Orbiter. As soon as the spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex manoeuvres comprising of tough braking and fine braking.
The lander, named Vikram, will land near the Moon’s South Pole and then it will then carry out experiments on Lunar surface for 1 Lunar day. A single lunar day is equal to 14 Earth days. However. Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.
The historic Chandrayaan-2 mission will target a completely unexplored section of the Moon that is, its “South Polar region - Aitken Basin”. By conducting topographical studies and mineralogical analyses alongside a few other experiments on the Moon’s Surface, the ISRO’s ambitious mission aimed to get a better understanding of the Moon’s origin and its evolution.
In Chandrayaan-2, a total of 13 payloads are distributed across the three modules where the Orbiter and Vikram Lander are stacked upon each other whereas the Pragyan Rover is housed inside the lander.
The GSLV Mk-III will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical Earth parking orbit, enlarging it over days or weeks with thrusts to raise the orbit apogee. However, the apogee will be high enough that a thrust can send the spacecraft on to a lunar transfer trajectory. A lunar orbit insertion burn will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical orbit and the spacecraft will begin braking to reduce its orbit to a 100-kilometre circle.
Chandrayaan-1 as the first Indian lunar probe under Chandrayaan program. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 22, 2008. The weight of Chandrayaan-1 which was carried by PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) for Chandrayaan-1 was 1380 kg.
Chandarayan-1 surveyed the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography. The ISRO’s flagship mission was in operation for 312 days.
Interestingly, Chandrayaan-1 carried five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other space agencies including NASA, ESA and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency.
During Chandrayaan-1 mission, the Mini-Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini-SAR) found water-ice deposits in craters on the far side of the moon. Chandrayaan-1 orbited the moon a distance of 100 kilometres from its surface, with a mission of chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the lunar satellite.
Chandrayaan-1 was first made to circle the Earth in its transfer orbit, and then was put into elliptical "extended transfer orbits" by repeatedly firing its liquid engine in a pre-determined sequence.
Consequently, the liquid engine was once more fired to make the spacecraft travel to the vicinity of the Moon by following a path called the "Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT).
When it reached near the Moon and passed at a few hundred kilometres from it, its liquid engine was fired again so that the spacecraft slowed down sufficiently to enable the gravity of the Moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit.