India's heavy rocket 'Bahubali' prepping for historic Moon flight

The Rs 1,000-crore orbiter-lander-rover mission would reach an orbit about 100 km from the Moon in the first week of September

The Rs 1,000-crore orbiter-lander-rover mission would reach an orbit about 100 km from the Moon in the first week of September

After several delays, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is set to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission this Sunday with plans to become the first nation to land at the lunar south pole.

India's ambitious space mission to land a rover on Moon, Chandrayaan 2, is scheduled to launch on July 15 at 2:51 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will be launched via the ISRO's own GSLV-MK3 three-stage rocket, according to the Planetary Society.

India successfully completed its first lunar probe mission, Chandrayaan-1, in October 2008. If everything goes to plan and the lander successfully touches down on the lunar surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft-or controlled-landing on the moon, after the US, former Soviet Union and China.

Chandrayaan-1 was carried a range of scientific equipments, both Indian and worldwide, to the lunar orbit. The probe collected a lot of significant data over its mission. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will circle the moon and provide information about its surface.

When will Chandrayaan-2 reach the moon?

During the mission, the orbiter will act is a midway point, mediating communications between operators on Earth and the lander and rover.

Chandrayaan-2's lunar exploration will take place through thirteen scientific instruments called payloads that will perform a range of experiments.

The orbiter's other payloads are an Image IR Spectrometer for "global mineralogical and volatile mapping of the Moon"; Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar for high-res mapping of the polar region and a quantitative estimation of water-ice in those areas; CHACE 2 (Chandrayaan 2 Atmospheric Compositional Explorer 2) to continue an experiment started by Chandrayaan 1; and a Dual Frequency Radio Science Experiment to study the temporal evolution of electron density in the lunar ionosphere.

Around $88 million of Chandrayaan-2's total budget is for the orbiter, lander, rover and ground support network, while about $54 covers the cost of the GSLV-MK3 launch vehicle.

The mission also has one passive experiment from the United States space agency NASA.

From there, the six-wheeled robotic vehicle Pragyan will roll out and spend one lunar day, or a fortnight on Earth, carrying out scientific experiments on the surface.

Chandrayaan-2 is not ISRO's first mission to the moon.

Chandrayaan-2, equipped with a lander and rover, will observe the lunar surface and send back data which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.

Consequently, the liquid engine was once more fired to make the spacecraft travel to the vicinity of the Moon by following a path called the "Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT)". Operators will then progressively raise its orbit until it enters the influence of the moon's gravity. A lunar orbit insertion burn will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical orbit and the spacecraft will begin braking to reduce its orbit to a 100-kilometer circle.

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