India’s expedition to the moon is all set to begin today with the launch of Chandrayaan-2 by using the heavy-lift launch vehicle GSLV-Mark-Three.
The rocket carrying the prestigious probe will be ignited at 2.43 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, some 90 kilometres off Chennai.
Indian Space Research Organisation scientists said, the 20-hour countdown for the launch began last evening at 6.43 pm and is progressing smoothly. The launch rehearsal has been done by the scientists and engineers of the ISRO at Sriharikota on Sunday.
The national space agency has said all the parameters during the rehearsal were found to be normal. Speaking to reporters in Chennai yesterday, ISRO chairman Dr Sivan said, that all preparatory arrangements have been put in place for the mission.
Originally Chandrayaan-2 was planned to be launched on the 15th of this month. However, a technical snag was detected less than an hour before its scheduled lift-off, forcing the mission to be halted.
To make up for the loss of seven days due to the delay in the launch, the flight duration of Chandrayaan-2 from the earth to the moon has been reduced from 54 days to 48 days by tweaking the flight path. Its lander will descend on the moon by September 7 as planned earlier.
Dr Sivan said the scientists would perform fifteen crucial manoeuvres to navigate the probe from an earth-bound elliptical orbit to the surface of the moon. Our correspondent reports, total cost of the mission is worked out to be 978 crore rupees.
The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-2 include studying mineralogy and chemical composition of lunar soil, to search for water or ice in the near-South Pole of the moon, examining its atmosphere, studying lunar seismic activities and to carry out mapping of the moon using high-resolution cameras.
One of its main goals is to make a soft-landing of an indigenous lander on the uncharted territory of the moon. The mission Chandrayaan-2 has evoked huge interest among the people of the nation.
It is evident from the booking of all the slots meant for the public to view the launch, within minutes of opening the online window for registration. In short, Chandrayaan-2 is set to carry the dreams of over 1.3 billion hearts to the moon, besides yielding rich dividends for the nation’s scientific pursuit and nourishing scientific attitude.