Indian Space Research Organisation chief K Sivan on Wednesday said that India’s third lunar mission programme Chandrayaan-3 has been approved by the central government, ANI reported. This declaration came after the second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, had attempted a soft landing on the moon on September 7, but Vikram lander lost communication with ISRO minutes before touchdown.
Sivan said the third lunar mission’s configuration would be similar to Chandrayaan-2 with a lander, rover and an orbiter being part of the spacecraft, according to India Today. The mission is expected to take about 14 to 16 months.
Minister of State for Department of Space Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday that the third moon mission will be launched in 2020. “Yes, the lander and rover mission will happen in 2020,” Singh told Hindustan Times. “However, as I have said before, the Chandrayaan-2 mission cannot be called a failure as we have learnt a lot from it. There is no country in the world that has landed on its first attempt; the US took several attempts. But we will not need so many attempts.”
“We have made good progress on Chandrayaan-2, even though we could not land successfully, the orbiter is still functioning, it’s going to function for the next seven years to produce scientific data,” Sivan said on Wednesday at a press conference at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
The space agency has also identified four astronauts, all personnel from the Indian Air Force, for the upcoming Gaganyaan programme, the country’s first manned mission to space. They will go through a training in Russia from the third week of January, News18 reported.
Sivan said the space agency was working on acquiring land to set up a second space port and has identified Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. The existing space center, at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, had been upgraded with a public viewing gallery, he added.