India to launch second moon mission next month

NEW DELHI (AA): India will be launching its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, on July 15, head of the country’s space agency said on Wednesday. In a news conference reported by news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), K Sivan, the chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said Chandrayaan-2, weighing 3.8 tons, will carry 13 scientific satellites and it will explore the southern part of the moon.

He further said that the aim is to use space technology for the benefit of the common man. According to local broadcaster NDTV, after the launch, the satellite will take several weeks before it heads for a much-anticipated soft-landing on the south pole of the moon a region that has not been visited by any spacecraft. “The day we are going to land is either September 6 or September 7, that day happens to be the beginning of a lunar day. For one full lunar day, the lander and rover will be functioning and will carry out scientific experiments,” Sivan said.

Chandrayaan-2 has three modules: the Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and the Rover (Pragyan). The Rover will be housed inside the Lander, according to ISRO. There will eight instruments on the orbiter however, there are no specific details of the instruments that it will be carrying along. The sixth Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) of NASA, the only foreign payload, will be a part of the Orbiter. The ISRO has also shared the first pictures of Chandrayaan-II the lander and orbiter at its Satellite Integration and Testing establishment in Bengaluru.