Chennai: India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is ready at 2. 51 AM. The GSLV-MkIII will lift off with the spacecraft at 2.51 AM on Monday. (Also read: Catch Live Streaming of Chandrayaan-2 Mission Launch Here)Also Read - ISRO Successfully Test-Fires Gaganyaan Low Altitude Escape Motor of Crew Escape System
All preparations are complete and Chandrayaan-2 is sitting inside the launch vehicle at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. The 20-hour countdown for the launch began at 6.51 AM on Sunday as per the schedule. Also Read - ISRO New Rocket Launch: Satellite No Longer Usable, Will Soon Be Back With SSLV-D2, Says Space Agency
Chandrayaan-2 will take more than 50 days to soft-land Vikram (the lander) on the lunar surface, making India the fourth nation to have managed that feat. Catch some behind-the-scene action here: Also Read - SSLV-D1: BIG Takeaways From ISRO's Smallest Commercial Rocket Launch
Former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair has called the mission most complex yet to be undertaken by the organisation. “Scientifically, it is a follow on mission to confirm data from Chandrayaan-1. It is going to be a big motivator for the young scientific group,” he said.
ISRO chairman K Sivan has said that the mission is only the beginning and that the agency will follow this up by sending a human to Moon. That would be followed by the ambitious Gaganyaan mission which aims to send astronauts to space in 2022.
This Rs 978-crore mission involves landing Vikram and unloading Pragyan (the rover), while the Orbiter goes around Moon. This mission is worth watching for various reasons.
For one, it has cost India a fraction of what a Hollywood movie like Avengers Endgame cost. Yet, it will put the country in league with lunar pioneers like the US, Russia and China.
What Chandrayaan-2 mission aims to achieve, a touchdown near Moon’s south pole, has been managed by only one other mission, China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft.
For the project, India has conceived and realised several cutting-edge indigenous systems in navigation, guidance, control, onboard autonomy, precision sensors and intricate communication links.
Chandrayaan-2 will carry a total of 14 payloads — 13 from India and one passive payload from NASA — with special focus on mapping craters in the polar region, besides checking for water again.