GSLV MK-III
In picture: The GSLV on site before its launch.ISRO official website

After launching its 100th satellite on January 12, the Indian Space Research Organisation is now gearing up to launch its second lunar mission -- Chandrayaan-2 soon. While an exact date for the lift-off hasn't been announced yet, the mission is likely to take off sometime in April.

Chandrayaan -2 Fact File 

  • The Chandrayaan-2 mission is said to be much more challenging than the first one.
  • This time the spacecraft will be carried by heavy-payload lifter GSLV Mk II, unlike the first time when the spacecraft was launched by a PSLV rocket.
  • The GSLV Mk II will launch the spacecraft that will weigh about 3,290kg, which includes an orbiter, a rover and a lander to the moon.

Speaking of the mission, Isro chairman K Sivan told the Times of India that the Chandrayaan-2 mission is a challenging one and the spacecraft will take quite some time to reach the moon's orbit.

"Chandraayan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon. The launch date schedule is sometime in April. Once the GSLV rocket carrying the spacecraft is launched from Sriharikota, the orbiter will reach the moon's orbit in one to two months. (The moon's orbit is 3,82,000km away from the earth's surface)," Sivan told TOI.

"After reaching the moon's orbit, the lander will get detached from the orbiter and do a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon. The 6-wheeled rover fixed within the lander will get detached and move on the lunar surface.

"The rover has been designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on the moon's surface and walk up to 150-200 km. It will do several experiments and on-site chemical analysis of the surface."

chandrayan
An image of the surface of the moon taken by Chandrayaan-1Reuters

He then explained that the rover will send images and other information about the moon's surface back to the earth. Sivan also spoke of the process and told TOI that the lunar module's components are almost ready and scientists are now integrating them. "Once the module is ready, it will have to go through rigorous tests," he added. 

While he hinted at an April launch date, Sivan also said that a number of factors have to be taken into consideration and plans also depend on the position of the moon. 

As ISRO is hard at work preparing for the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Twitter seems equally excited about it and lauded the organisation's efforts. 

 
Related
  • India all set for second Moon mission: Chandrayaan-II is on schedule, says ISRO
  • ISRO's 100th satellite launch: Twitter lauds space agency as PSLV lifts off