Space race: For ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 is not the end, Mission Gaganyaan next priority
New Delhi, Sep 22: For Indian Space Research Organisation, it may be the last chance to establish some form of communication with the Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram on lunar night, however this wouldn't stop them space race that threatens regional security.
On Sept. 7, India's Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission deployed its Vikram lander for an attempted landing at the Moon's south pole. Communications with the lander were lost just minutes prior to the scheduled landing. Recent imaging suggests that Vikram may have survived the landing intact, but it might be unable to communicate. No matter the outcome, the mission has already proved successful as Chandrayaan-2 continues to orbit the Moon.
Chandrayaan-2 adds to the list of India's recent accomplishments in space.
This probe was sent on a scientific mission, but India's achievements in space include other military developments, all of which reflect a challenge to China. Though some are warning of a space race between the US and China, I suggest the real space race is happening in Asia.
This year alone, both China and India have landed, or attempted to land, probes on the Moon. These types of missions are one way to achieve international prestige. But they also peacefully demonstrate capabilities that could be used in conflict. From my perspective as a space policy analyst, India's space activities, combined with its escalating tensions with Pakistan, contribute to increasing regional tension.
K. Sivan on Saturday said that Chandrayaan-2 has achieved 98 per cent of its objectives. However, their next priority would be Mission Gaganyaan.
"There are 8 instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it meant to do. Regarding the lander, we have not been able to establish communication with it. Our next priority is Gaganyaan mission," he said in Bhubaneswar, reports ANI.
The ISRO chief said that organization was trying to set the target of achieving this mission (Gaganyaan) by next year. "For this, we are working on different options," he added.
What is the Gaganyaan project?
The Gaganyaan is a crewed orbital spacecraft that is expected to carry three astronauts into space for at least seven days. The project was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2018 Independence Day speech.
The spacecraft is likely to consist of an Orbital Module which will have a service and a crew module. The mission is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore.
How are the astronauts being selected?
The Indian Air Force has completed the first level of selecting astronauts for the ambitious Gaganyaan mission from its pool of test pilots.
According to the Air force, the pilots underwent necessary physical exercise tests, lab investigations, radiological tests, clinical tests and evaluation on various aspects of their psychology.