India’s mission to send another spacecraft to the moon by October 2018 has been postponed again due to technical glitches, NDTV reported on Saturday. The Chandrayaan-II lunar exploration mission is now likely to be launched only in 2019.
The director of Indian Space Research Organisation’s UR Rao Satellite Centre, M Annadurai, told NDTV that the launch date for Chandryaan-II “is slipping to 2019”. He added that the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket will now be launched in January, and will reach the moon in February next year.
Annadurai said that since the weight of the Chandrayaan satellite has now increased, the GSLV-III rocket, India’s heaviest at nearly 640 tons, will now be used instead of GSLV-II. “The orbiter is fully ready and tested and as far as lander is concerned, it is undergoing tests,” he said. “It needs five thrusters of 800 newtons which will be used to make it gradually come down and land on the moon surface. These tests are going on in a simulated moon environment.”
Russia, the United States and China have already landed spacecrafts on the moon. India launched its first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-I, successfully in October 2008, and achieved many of its objectives before losing communication in August 2009. However, the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration found it still orbiting the moon in March 2017.