Chandrayaan-2 launch: All you need to know about India's new space mission
The brainchild of ISRO, the mission will attempt to explore the south polar region of the Moon, a region hitherto unexplored by any country.
Delayed yet undeterred
The lunar mission, which was originally planned for July 15, 2019, was delayed when a 'technical snag' was discovered just before the final countdown. Chandrayaan-2 will reach its orbit with the help of GSLV MK-III, which is capable of carrying 4-tonne class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
The space mission will help us understand our natural satellite better, through complex topographical studies, and comprehensive mineralogical analysis. These studies will be performed by the lander, 'Vikram', named after the space luminary, Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, who spearheaded India's nascent space programme.
At the time of launch, the Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter will be capable of communicating with the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu, as well as with 'Vikram'.
The tech being used
The payload will include terrain mapping cameras to prepare a 3D map of the intended area, while a collimated large array soft x-ray spectrometer will map the majority of major rock-forming elements. An orbiter high resolution camera will capture high-resolution images of the landing site and an imaging infrared spectrometer will identify minerals along with signatures of hydroxyl (OH) and water (H2O) molecules in polar regions.
"While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan-1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition. Through this mission, we aim to expand India's footprint in space, surpass international aspirations and inspire a future generation of scientists, engineers and explorers", ISRO said in a statement.
Made in India
India's Central Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC) has manufactured 22 types of valves for fuel injection and other parts for the cryogenic engine of the GSLV Mark III rocket. This Bhubaneswar-based institution had started manufacturing the parts for this particular lunar mission in March 2017.
Elaborating on the seven assemblies manufactured by the CTTC for navigation and inertial momentum of the orbiter, Managing Director Sibasis Maity said these were solar array drive assemblies (SADA) to help the solar panels of the orbiter and lander; momentum wheel assembly (MWA), reaction wheel assembly (RWA), dynamically tuned gyroscope (DTG), ISRO laser gyroscope (ILG), mini advanced inertial navigation system (AINS) and rate gyro electronic package device (RGPD).
ISRO wanted to test the rover, Pragyaan, on lunar soil-like substance so that the experiments on Moon go without a hitch. The moon's surface is covered with craters, rocks and dust and its soil is of different texture. A report by IANS explained that importing lunar soil like substance from the US was a costly affair. It was then ISRO looked for a local solution as its need was about 60-70 tonnes of soil. Many geologists had told ISRO that near Salem in Tamil Nadu there were "anorthosite" rocks that would be similar to features of moon soil or regolith. The ISRO finalised to take the "anorthosite" rocks from Sithampoondi and Kunnamalai villages in Tamil Nadu for moon soil. The rocks were crushed to the required size and moved to Bengalure where its Lunar Terrain Test Facility was located and the test bed created.