The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch its second moon mission in January 2019, said the space agency’s chairperson K Sivan on Tuesday. Chandrayaan 2 is the “most complex mission” undertaken by ISRO, reported PTI.
“To ensure that it becomes a success in the first attempt, experts have suggested some changes,” said Sivan. These include changes in entering the orbit and in landing the spacecraft. “These were also the steps taken by China while executing its moon mission programme,” said Sivan.
This will lead to an increase in the weight of the probe, which will now weigh 3.8 tonnes and will be sent to space on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III launcher. The launch window will open on January 3 and close on February 16. “The mission will have an orbiter weighing 2,379 kg, a lander named Vikram weighing 1,471 kg and a rover weighing 27 kg,” he said. It will land near the South Pole of the moon that is still unexplored, said Sivan.
The space agency’s aim is to launch 19 missions up to March 2019, which will include four satellites to provide higher bandwidth for connectivity for the government’s Digital India scheme.
On Tuesday, ISRO announced that two unmanned missions will precede the country’s first manned mission to space, Gaganyaan, which will take three astronauts for five to seven days. Union minister Jitendra Singh said the first unmanned flight of the programme is likely within 30 months, according to IANS.