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Chandrayaan-2: Significance, reasons for delay; When will it be launched?

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New Delhi, May 03: ISRO will acheive many firsts with the ambitious Chandrayaan 2 mission in which India's premier space agency wants to land a lunar craft, Pragyan Rover, near Moon's south pole, unexplored territory currently.

This would be world-first lunar mission to the Moon's south pole. It will also be India's first mission to the moon's surface. Previous mission, Chandarayan-1, involved surveying the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and three-dimensional topography. Chandrayaan-1 was in operation for 312 days.

ISRO-Chandrayaan-2-launch-date

All previous lunar crafts have landed near the equator and this is the first time one will landed near the south pole. Landing on the Moon is a very complex mission, more so if a country is planning to land in a territory previously unexplored. ISRO wants to get it right in the first go, like Mangalyaan when India became the first country to sucessfully launch a Mars in the first attempt.

ISRO may not be as resourceful as the NASA or the European Space Agency in terms of the budget, but there is no dearth of talent or hunger to prove a point to the world. ISRO has always been in pursuit of excellence and for this it commands respect all across the globe. ISRO has developed several complex technologies on its own like the cryogenic engine and PSLV an extremely efficient medium launch vehicle with good success rate.

[ISRO to launch Chandrayaan 2 between July 9-16, landing expected in September]

The components of the Chandrayaan 2 mission are in different stages of the production cycle. ISRO declared the orbiter ready last year but this was done before it had been tested after its payload had been integrated into its body. Chandrayaan-2 has three modules namely Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). Orbiter and Lander modules will be stacked together as an one entity inside the launch vehicle GSLV MK-III.

The lander will carry instruments like a seismometer and a thermal probe, and the rover will carry spectrometers to analyse the lunar soil.

Reasons for delay:

All modules of India's second moon mission "Chandrayaan-2", scheduled for launch in July, are getting ready and the lander is expected to touch down on the lunar surface in early September, the Indian Space Research Organisation statement last month said.

But, some reports suggest that Mission's lander is yet to meet all the required parameters. A report published in The Wire says that in 2016, the lander underwent one series of tests, but in June 2018, members of an internal review panel recommended a slew of design and process changes on the landing sequence. Also, during a lander test conducted in February this year, engineers found that its legs were not strong enough to support its weight.

[ISRO postpones Chandrayaan launch to July]

The ISRO is cautious about Chandrayaan-2 as it is its first mission to land on any celestial body. The premier agency is also wary of failure after Israel's Beresheet spacecraft crashed during moon landing on April 11.

So, all in all, ISRO wants to get right the first time and would leave no stone unturned to acheive it. India became the first country to sucessfully launch a Mars probe in the very first attempt. There is a reputation of sorts which ISRO wants to protect.

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