Ahead of 2nd moon shot, a timeline of India's space program

Federico Mansilla
Julio 12, 2019

Consequently, the liquid engine was once more fired to make the spacecraft travel to the vicinity of the Moon by following a path called the "Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT)".

India is making the final preparations to launch its first-ever lunar lander on Sunday, July 14 as part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, the country's most ambitious space project yet.

Around $88 million of Chandrayaan-2's total budget is for the orbiter, lander, rover and ground support network, while about $54 covers the cost of the GSLV-MK3 launch vehicle.

Nicknamed "Fat boy" by the ISRO scientists, GSLV Mk-III rocket is considered to be India's most powerful rocket weighing 640 tonnes.

ISRO are yet to provide information on whether the launch will be livestreamed or not, so check back here in the coming days.

The U.S. - which is marking the 50th anniversary this month of the Apollo 11 mission that made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first humans on the moon - is working to send a manned spacecraft to the lunar south pole by 2024.

According to ISRO, the orbiter will have eight payloads. Operators will then progressively raise its orbit until it enters the influence of the moon's gravity.

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Chandrayaan-2: Could Helium-3 exploration be one of the objectives?

When will Chandrayaan-2 reach the moon?

The range of Chandrayaan 2 encompassing the moon will be approximately 100X100 km orbit through a set of movements.

Other instruments include CLASS (Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer) which will examine the presence of major elements like Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Calcium, Titanium, Iron and Sodium; a solar X-ray monitor to observe X-rays emitted by the sun; an Orbiter High Resolution Camera, which helps ensure the lander can touchdown safely by detecting craters and boulders and providing high-res images of the landing site.

Isro has named the lander "Vikram", after India's space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971) and rover "Pragyan", which in Sanskrit means wisdom. Chief among these goals is the ability to understand the composition of the moon, allowing for a deeper understanding of its origin and its evolution. Two Chandrayaan modules - an orbiter and a lander - will be stacked together inside a launch vehicle equipped to lift heavy satellites into orbit.

The orbiter portion of the mission is expected to last for a year, whereas the lander and rover are planned to function for the duration of one lunar day, which translates to about 14 Earth days. Following its arrival, it will manoeuvre into a circular orbit just 62 miles (100km) above the lunar surface. Predominantly, these instruments should enable a greater understanding of the moon's water ice deposits.

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