India’s much-awaited moon mission Chandrayaan-3 has been scheduled for launch on July 14, at 2.35 p.m., from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the G-20 Space Economy Leaders Meeting, ISRO Chairman S. Somnath also said that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will be launched by the Launch Vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) and the launch window is between July 12 and 19.
Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third moon mission, and is a follow-up to Chandrayaan-2, to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous lander module (LM), propulsion module (PM), and a rover with an objective of developing and demonstrating new technologies required for inter-planetary missions.
According to ISRO, the lander has the capability to soft-land at a specified lunar site, and deploy the rover, which will carry out in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface during the course of its mobility. The lander and the rover have scientific payloads to carry out experiments on the lunar surface.
Soft-landing on moon on Aug. 23 or 24
Mr. Somnath said that if the launch takes place as scheduled on July 14 the landing on the lunar surface would take place in the last week of August.
“If the launch takes place on that day then we will be ready for landing on the moon possibly by the last week of August. The date (landing date) is decided when there is sunrise on the moon. When we are landing, sunlight must be there. So the landing will be on August 23 or 24,” Mr. Somnath said.
Mr. Somnath said that if the landing does not take place as planned on August 23 or 24, then ISRO will wait for another month to make a landing attempt in September.
“The lander and the rover will stay on the moon for 14 days until sunlight is there. When there is no sunlight, a small solar panel which is on the rover will generate power to charge the battery for the next 14 days until light comes. The temperature there goes down to minus 40 degrees and in such an environment there is no guarantee that the battery and electronics will survive but we did some tests and we get the feeling that it will survive even in such harsh conditions,” Mr. Somnath said.