The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ from April 2018 to October-November 2018. The launch was postponed for additional tests suggested by national level committee to review Chandrayaan-2.
Chandrayaan 2 is India’s second mission to Moon and is advanced version of previous Chandrayaan-1 mission (launched in 2008). It has been developed indigenously by ISRO. It consists of Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. In this mission, ISRO will for first time attempt to land a rover on moon’s south-pole. It will be launched on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-F10).
It is ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land rover on any celestial body. The spacecraft (orbiter) weighs around 3,290 kg and it will orbit around moon and perform objectives of remote sensing moon. Once GSLV-F10 put spacecraft in 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit, orbiter will be manoeuvred towards 100-km lunar orbit by firing thrusters and then lander housing the rover will separate from orbiter.
The six wheeled rover will move on lunar surface and collect soil or rock samples for on-site chemical analysis to gather scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. The data will be relayed to Earth through orbiter. The rover will move around landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
Note: The soft-landing on the lunar surface of the moon will be most complex part of Chandrayaan 2 mission. Only US, Russia and China have been able to soft-land spacecraft on lunar surface.