Chandrayaan-2 explained: Countdown begins Sunday

GSLV Mark-III will carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2, projecting it into an orbit of 170 km perigee and 40,400 km apogee in its 16-minute flight


New Delhi: The countdown to Mission Chandrayaan-2 of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will begin on Sunday. ISRO chairperson K Sivan said on Saturday that the 20-hour countdown for this mission is expected to start on 14 July, as per the plan, at 6:51 AM.

The rocket for Chandrayaan-2 will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Centre at Sriharikota on 15 July at 2:30 AM. Foreign has described this mission as extremely challenging.

Chandrayaan-2: ‘15-storey’ high Bahubali

Chandrayaan-2 will be launched using India’s most powerful GSLV MK-III rocket, which has been named Bahubali. Sivan said that all the processes of this mission were going smoothly.

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The weight of Rocket Bahubali is 640 tonnes, which is also the tallest launcher ever. Its height is 44 m, which is equal to a 15-storey building. This rocket is capable of carrying a satellite weighing four tonnes into the sky. There will be three phases of its flight.

The cost of construction of Bahubali has been Rs 375 crore.

Chandrayaan-2 mission unlike Apollo 11’s

GSLV Mark-III will carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft. It will project Chandrayaan-2 into an orbit of 170 km perigee and 40,400 km apogee vis-à-vis earth in its 16-minute flight.

Chandrayaan-2 is expected to land on the moon’s surface on 6 or 7 September. It is India’s most ambitious mission.

Chandrayaan-2 is the first mission of its kind to gather information about the area of ​​the moon’s south pole zone, which is as yet untapped. The United States’ famous Apollo 11 Lunar Module, the Eagle, by which Neil Armstrong travelled to be the first human being to land on the moon, had landed in Mare Tranquillitatis, located at 0°4’5″N latitude, 23°42’28″E longitude.

Three parts of the Indian moon-craft

There are three parts of Chandrayaan-2, which will play important roles. The name of the first part, the lander, is Vikram. It weighs 1,400 kg and is of length 3.5 m. This part will carry three payloads. It will land on the moon and set the rover.

The second part is the orbiter whose weight is 3,500 kg and the length is 2.5 m. It will take eight payloads. It will revolve around the moon with its payload.

The third part is the rover, which weighs 27 kg. It will run from solar energy. With the help of its 6 wheels, it will move around the surface of the moon and collect samples.

Foreign calls it a huge challenge

The Washington Post has described this mission as a very complex one. Experts have said that this mission will help map the surface of the moon. Through this mission, scientists will explore the presence of elements like magnesium, aluminum, silicon, calcium, titanium, iron and sodium on the moon.

Most importantly, the mission will try to trace water deposited in the pits of the moon’s polar region in the form of ice.

Experts say that India’s emphasis on its space programme reflects the aspirations of its young population.

Stiff challenges

Moon is about 3,84,400 km from the earth. So, any message takes some minutes to reach the moon from the earth (sound travels at a speed of 343 m/s). Not only this, solar radiation can have an impact on Chandrayaan-2. Signals can be weak here.

Chandrayaan-1 was launched in October 2008. It had an orbiter and an impactor but no rover. Chandrayaan-1 went to the orbit of the moon but did not land on the moon. It stayed for 312 days in the moon’s orbit. It sent some images of the moon. From this data, it was confirmed there was snow on the moon.

The video is a file from the Wikimedia Commons (From Wikipedia under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence). Information from its description page there
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Surajit Dasgupta
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sirf News Surajit Dasgupta has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life, the first national affairs editor of Swarajya, executive editor of Hindusthan Samachar and desk head of MyNation