India on Sunday geared up for the launch of its second space mission Chandrayaan-2, which will attempt to place a robotic rover on the lunar surface. The moon mission will be launched on Monday at 2.51 am from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, NDTV reported.
Indian Space Research Organisation’s most powerful rocket launcher, GSLV Mk III, will be used to carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 into orbit. After its launch, the spacecraft will head towards the South Pole of the moon for a soft landing after travelling for nearly two months.
President Ram Nath Kovind will attend the post-midnight lift-off. The 640 tonne GSLV Mk III, popularly known as “Baahubali”, is as high as a 15-storied building and this mission will be its third launch. The Rs 1,000-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission will also carry a 1.4-tonne lander [Vikram] that will take the 27-kg rover [Pragyan] to a location between two craters on the lunar South Pole.
If the mission is successful, India will become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the moon after the United States, Russia, and China, The Times of India reported. The project will also attempt to gauge the history of the solar system and try to understand how the Earth was formed.
The mission life of the orbiter is one year and the rover’s expected life is 14 Earth days. Chandrayaan-2 will have 14 Indian payloads that will study topography, seismography, and mineral identification, among other things, according to The Hindu.
The mission will be launched 50 years after the astronauts of Apollo II set off for the Sea of Tranquility on the moon, News18 reported Meanwhile, the moon mission has attracted a lot of international attention with publications marvelling at the low-cost budget of the mission.
“The total cost of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is about $124 million, which includes a $31 million price tag for the launch and $93 million for the satellite,” said Russian news agency Sputnik. “The cost is less than half of the budget of Hollywood blockbuster Avengers Endgame, which had an estimated budget of $356 million.”
In an article in The Guardian, titled ‘Everyone’s going back to the Moon. But why?’, India’s ambitious mission to the moon finds mention. “At 2.51 am on Monday, July 15, engineers at India’s national spaceport at Sriharikota will blast their Chandrayaan-2 probe into orbit around the Earth,” the article stated. “It will be the most ambitious space mission the nation has attempted.”