Chandrayaan-2 most complex mission: ISRO chief Sivan

ISRO chief says assembly of launch vehicle on at Sriharikota

Updated - May 05, 2019 09:23 am IST

Published - May 04, 2019 11:01 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will be ready for integration with the launch vehicle this month, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K. Sivan said on Saturday.

Mr. Sivan, who is on a visit to the ISRO facilities here, told The Hindu that the assembly of the launch vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III), was on at the Sriharikota spaceport.

On May 1, the ISRO announced a July 9 - July 16 launch window for India’s second moon mission with plans to land on the lunar surface on September 6.

“All systems are ready. The satellite (Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft) will be ready for integration in May. But unlike other satellites, we cannot launch just because it is ready. We need to have specific conditions on the moon for a landing,” he said.

The spacecraft has three modules: an orbiter, a lander (Vikram), and a rover (Pragyan). Mr. Sivan added that Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission undertaken by the ISRO to date, primarily on account of the soft touchdown required at the chosen landing site - near the lunar south pole.

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) on Chandrayaan-1, by comparison, had not been designed for a soft landing.

Safe landing

For a safe landing on the moon, the velocity of the lander - which will detach from the orbiter - has to be reduced under right conditions, Mr. Sivan said.

“To achieve that remotely, it is a very complex operation. We have built the systems for that,” he said.

Mr. Sivan also drew attention to the failed ‘Beresheet’, a privately funded Israeli mission, where the lander crashed on the lunar surface in April.

The GSLV Mk-III, which will be used to lift the spacecraft to the earth-bound orbit, will be carrying its heaviest payload to date - 3.8 tonnes.

4-tonne payload

“The GSLV Mk-III is designed to carry 4-tonne payloads. In its earlier flights, we have carried 3.3 tonnes and 3.4 tonnes. This time it is 3.8 tonnes,” Mr. Sivan said.

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