More than a decade afterChandrayaan-1, and at a time of renewed global interest in moon science, India will start its second journey to the moon from theSriharikotaspaceport at 2.51am on Monday.
While a successful mission will mark multiple firsts for India, the United States, Russia and China, like the country’s next step in the international space race as vies to rub shoulders with giants.
In the 10 years between Chandrayaan-1 andChandrayaan-2, China has landed on the moon many times, the latest being ‘Chang’e 4’ that touched the moon on the moon in January, the first to any country.
While keeping its eyes firmly on Mars, Nasa is also working on the Artemis program that used for GPS when orbiting the moon before putting humans there again. Isro missed multiple launches windows in 2018 and one in January 2019, which would have made it the first to soft-land on Moon’s south polar region. Chandrayaan-2 will ride on a GSLV-MkIII.
The actual achievements will come 52 days later, when it lands on the moon surface. The Rs 978-crore mission involves an orbit around the moon, a lander (Vikram) and a rover (Pragyan).
Its success, Isro chairman K Shivan says, will make India the fourth nation on a probe on Moon. Most of the Nasa landings were in the equatorial region, while Chang’e 4 landed near the south polewhere India boldly goes now.
Discovery of water molecules by an instrument carried by Chandrayaan-1 has given a boost to a successful way in the second mission.
Chandrayaan-2, a project cleared in September 2008 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will also try to understand the history of early solar system, and learn secrets of Earth’s formation.
In Video:Isro’s ‘Bahubali’ rocket to launch Chandrayaan-2 on July 15