Bengaluru, Jun 12:
Isro on Wednesday officially announced that the Chandrayaan-2 will be launched at 2.51 am on July 15. The space agency had said last month that it was looking at a launch window between July 9 and 15. Isro Chairman K Sivan said: “The 15 minute operation that will see the Lander (Vikram) make the final descent will be the most terrifying moments for the agency as it has never attempted such a complex mission.”Isro will be using the same strategy as Chandrayaan-1 to reach the Moon. But the soft landing is completely new, Sivan said.
The cost of the mission—including foreign service for navigation—is Rs 603 crore, and an additional Rs 375 crore will be the launch cost. Isro has depended on industry and academia the muscle and the brain for Chandrayaan2, he said.
“Nearly 620 industries and 15 academic institutions have played a role in GSLV MkIII and Chandrayaan2 respectively. And, 80% and 60% of the cost has gone to these,” he added.
The total weight of the spacecraft will be 3.8 tonne. The lander, which will have the rover inside it, will be sitting on top of the orbiter, Sivan said.
Once launched, the composite structure—Orbiter, Lander and Rover together—will use five orbit raising manoeuvres over 16 days. “The propulsion systems of the orbiter will be used for manoeuvres. Then we will have the translunar burns to take the composite structure closer to the Moon. After this the spacecraft will cover 3.5 lakh-km and travel there for five days,” Sivan said.
Once it is near the Moon, a retro-burn will be done, using propulsion systems on the orbiter again. “Once in the appropriate orbit, the Lander will separate from the orbiter. Once separated it will orbit for four days before reaching the 100kmx30km orbit. After reaching that orbit, once we are 30km from the Moon, the lander will descent. The final descent will take 15 minutes which will be the most terrifying,” Sivan said.
“After landing, the door will slowly open—even as the orbiter continues its job—the rover will come out of the door after four hours. It’s a very slow operation. Subsequently, rover will move on to the Moon. Rover will move at the speed of 1cm per second and will cover 500metres,” Sivan said.
He added that the Lander will land either on September 6 or 7. “We chose the day as it is the beginning of the Lunar Day there. Both lander and rover have a life of only 1 lunar day (14 Earth Days), while the orbiter will go around for one year,” Sivan said.