The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started using its new facility at Challakere in Chitradurga, Karnataka, for Chandrayaan-2 tests. Chandrayaan-2 is India's second mission to the moon, which is likely to be more advanced than the earlier Chandrayaan-1 mission.
ISRO has confirmed that it has begun the series of tests, comprising ground and aerial testing, associated with Chandrayaan-2 at the facility at Challakere, which is dubbed as a "Science City," the Hindu reported.
The Chandrayaan-2 mission will consist of Orbiter, Lander and Rover. The Orbiter will orbit the moon with its scientific payloads while the Lander will land on the moon and deploy the Rover on the surface. The Orbiter and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the moon's surface. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched by GSLV.
"The campaign for the Lander tests of Chandrayaan-2 has started. Tests are conducted over the simulated craters at Chitradurga. We are using an aircraft to assess whether the sensors on the Lander will do their job [later] of identifying the landing spot on the Moon," M Annadurai, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) director, told the Hindu.
The director noted that such a landing on an alien surface will be "very complicated."
More tests would be conducted in the coming months, which will include those on avionics and electronics, testing the legs of the Lander and finally a combined full test at Bengaluru and Chitradurga.
Currently, the launch date for Chandrayaan-2 mission has been tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018.