The Indian space programme is an important topic for the UPSC exam. The different missions and satellites developed by India form a part of the science and technology and current affairs segments of the UPSC syllabus. India’s success in the space field are potential questions for the IAS exam. In this article, you will get a brief about the country’s lunar mission, Chandrayaan II.
Chandrayaan II is India’s second lunar mission after Chandrayaan I. The mission includes a lunar orbiter, rover and a lander. The mission is developed by ISRO, India. Initially, the lander was supposed to have been developed by Russia. But, when Russia cited its inability to provide the lander by 2015, India decided to go solo. Now, the mission is entirely Indian. It is slated to launch by January 2019. The launch vehicle would be a GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III).
The mission is attempting to soft-land on the moon’s surface at a latitude of about 70° south, that would be on a high plain in between 2 craters. If successful, this would be the first mission to land near the lunar south pole.
Details of Chandrayaan II mission:
Launch vehicle: GSLV Mk III
Lift off mass (approx.): 3,890 kg
Launch from: Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
Orbiter: It will orbit the moon at a distance of 100 km from the lunar surface. Payloads on the orbiter are: Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer, L and S band Synthetic Aperture Radar, Imaging IR Spectrometer, Neutral Mass Spectrometer and Terrain Mapping Camera-2. The structure of the orbiter was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Lander: The lander has been named Vikram after scientist Vikram Sarabhai. The lander will detach from the orbiter, descend to a lunar orbit, before attempting to land on the surface. It will make a soft-landing and deploy the rover. It will also perform some scientific activities for about 15 days. Payloads on the lander are: seismometer, thermal probe, Langmuir probe and radio occultation.
Rover: The 27 kg rover will operate on solar power. It will move on six wheels and conduct chemical analyses on-site. It will then transmit the data to the orbiter which will send this data back to the earth station. The rover payloads include Laser induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope (APIXS).