NEW DELHI: The Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon was launched from India’s only space port at Sriharikota at 2:51 am on Monday.
The launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission is India’s most ambitious space mission yet which aims to place a robotic rover on the moon.ISRO will use its most powerful rocket launcher, GSLV Mk III, to carry the 3.8 tonne Chandrayaan-2 into orbit. The entire mission has a life of one year.
Chandrayaan-2 mission will ultimately head close to the South Pole of the moon for a soft landing after spending nearly two months on its long 3.84 lakh km journey. All of Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter, lander and rover have been designed and made in India.
The 640 tonne rocket GSLV Mk III, also known as “Baahubali”, is as high as a 15-storey building and it will lift the 3.8 tonne satellite on its journey to the moon. This will be the third launch of India’s heaviest launcher.
India first launched Chanfrayan-1 in 2008 when it moves around the orbit of the moon. The first mission had found existence of water particle in the moon. This time it will investigate more intensely.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who was at Sriharikota, was the third sitting president to witness a live launch from the space port.
The Rs. 1,000-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission will carry a 1.4 tonne lander - Vikram - which in turn will take the 27-kilogramme rover - Pragyan - to a high plain between two craters on the lunar South Pole.ISRO chief K Sivan said Vikram’s 15-minute final descent “will be the most terrifying moments as we have never undertaken such a complex mission”.
If India succeeds, it will become the fourth country to soft-land a spacecraft on the lunar surface after the US, Russia and China. Israel tried earlier this year but failed.
If the mission is successful, it will be a huge achievement for space agency ISRO that has a budget almost 20 times less than US space agency NASA.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to send a human into orbit by 2022 through Gaganyaan.