Orbiter, lander and rover: What makes Chandrayaan-2 a technically complex mission?
New Delhi, July 13: ISRO would achieve many firsts with Chandrayaan-2 which is going to be launched by powerful launch vehicle GSLV-Mk-3 during the wee hours of Monday morning. Chandrayaan 2 will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Shriharikota.
This will be India's first attempt at a soft landing on the moon. If successful, it will make the country the fourth to achieve such a feat, after Russia, the US and China. All previous lunar crafts have landed near the equator and this is the first time one will land near the south pole.
While a lot has been talked about Chandrayaan-2's three modules namely Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan), little is discussed about the things this mission would do.
What everyone knows is this, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will circle the moon and provide information about its surface. The Lander will soft-land on the lunar surface and unload the Rover to study and take measurements from the surface. The lander and rover on Chandrayaan-2 will touchdown at a site 600 kilometers from the lunar South pole.
Weighing about 3,850 kg, Chandrayaan 2 is a three-in-one integrated spacecraft. Several state-of-art indigenous systems were conceived and realised in the areas of navigation, guidance, control, onboard autonomy, precision sensors, and intricate communication links involving orbiter, lander, rover, and ground systems for this mission, a report in The Print said.
Orbiter, Lander and Rover will remain in contact with ground stations. Among many other studies, the main aim is to study the moon's mineral and chemical composition and its topology and seismology. Measuring moon-quakes and studying the lunar crust and mantle are also said to be objectives of the mission.
Keeping communication links established continuously is a big technological challenge, considering massive distance of 3,84,400km between earth and moon. Ensuring trajectory accuracy for this far a distance while navigating the non-uniform gravitation pull of the Earth, the Moon, and other astronomical bodies is really a major technological challenge.