On July 22, 2019, India’s heaviest rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-III, nicknamed ‘Bahubali’ carried the Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh. It is a Rs 978-crore project. The target is to find more evidence of water, clues about the moon’s evolution and work the natural satellite as a test bed for more space missions concerning the solar system. It will be the first operational flight of GSLV-Mk-3 which is a 640-tonne rocket.
- Background: Originally, it was planned to be lifted off on July 15, 2019. But the plan was aborted by the Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) due to a technical glitch.
- Mission: The Chandrayaan 2 mission is set to explore the south polar region of the Moon, which is also known as Dark Side of the Moon due to the absence of sunlight in and around the craters of the Lunar Polar surface. It will explore the uncharted lunar south pole, 11 years after Isro’s successful first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, which made more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.
- Components: It carried 3 components namely the Orbiter, The Lander ‘Vikram’, and the Rover ‘Pragyaan. The Lander has been named after the father of the Indian Space Programme, Dr Vikram A Sarabhai. The life span of Vikram is one lunar day which is equivalent to 14 Earth days. It has the capability to communicate with The Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bangalore and can also communicate with the Rover and the Orbiter too.
- Schedule: Chandrayaan-2 will take 54 days to accomplish the task of landing on the Moon through meticulously planned orbital phases.
- Credit: It is world’s first mission to Moon’s South Pole. If successful, India will become the fourth nation to soft land on the Moon after the United States, Russia and China.
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
♦ Founder: Vikram Sarabhai
♦ Director: K Sivan