Chandrayaan 2, the second mission to the moon, would be an Indian programme, without any tie up with Russia.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V. Narayanasamy, on Wednesday confirmed this in reply to a written question in Rajya Sabha.

Chandrayaan 2 was originally envisaged to be a joint mission between ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) and the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos.

Under the agreement approved by the Central Government in September 2008, while ISRO was to provide for the launch by its workhorse, GSLV, as also the orbiter and the rover, the Russian agency was to provide the lander. The mission was scheduled for the current year.

Following the failure of the Russian-led interplanetary mission, Phobos-Grant, a sample return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, the Russian agency reviewed their inter-planetary missions and decided to increase the mass of the moon lander.

The Russian agency consequently suggested to ISRO two opportunities for launching of its Chandrayaan 2 rover - either 2015 or 2017 aboard Soyuz, the Russian spacecraft with a rider that the 2015 opportunity could involve mass limitation for the rover and entitle a higher risk.

In the wake of these inputs, the ISRO conducted a high level review of the Chandrayaan 2 programme under the chairmanship of Prof. U.R.Rao. The study recommended that India could itself realise a lander module in a few years and that it could go in for the mission on its own.

In his reply, Mr. Narayanasamy said the details of changes in the configuration and the mission profile were being finalised and the payloads of the lander would be finalised in due course taking into account the weight, volume and power constraints of the lander.

Later speaking to The Hindu, a senior ISRO official said the work on the programme was progressing apace and the mission is likely to take place in three years.

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