NATIONAL

Chandrayaan-2 will carry 14 payloads from India

Chandrayaan-2, the lunar lander mission planned to be launched during July 9-16, will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices, a mission update of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said.

The 3,800-kg spacecraft includes an orbiter which will circle the moon at 100 km; a five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend on the moon on or around September 6; and a robotic rover, Pragyan, that will probe the lunar terrain around it.

ISRO said all three modules will carry payloads but did not specify them or their objective. The orbiter alone will have eight payloads or instruments. The lander will carry four while the rover will be equipped with two instruments. “All the modules are getting ready for the Chandrayaan-2 launch,” a recent update had said, mentioning only 13 payloads.

ISRO has chosen a landing area at the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole, making it the first agency to touch down at the south pole if it succeeds in its first landing attempt. Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second outing to the moon. ISRO will send the mission on its heavy lift booster, the MkIII, from Sriharikota.

In October 2008, the space organisation had launched its orbiter mission Chandrayaan-1 on its PSLV booster. The spacecraft had 11 payloads. One of the U.S. payloads shares credit with Chandrayaan-1 for confirming the presence of water ice on the moon. Before that, the Moon Impacter Probe carrying the Indian tricolour image was made to hard-land on the lunar south pole.