ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 makes its way to the launch pad

By Vignesh Giridharan | Updated 19 Jun 2019
ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 makes its way to the launch pad
  • ISRO's lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-2 has begun its way to the launch pad.
  • It left ISRO's satellite centre in Bengaluru yesterday.
  • The launch pad is in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR spaceport in Sriharikota.

It was only last week that the Indian Space Research Organisation announced the launch plan of the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission. According to the space agency’s chairman, K Sivan, the uncrewed lunar spacecraft would be launched from ISRO’s launch facility in Sriharikota on July 15 at 2:51 AM. Everything appears to be going to plan for a mid-July launch because the spacecraft is now making its way to the launch pad.

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According to an image shared by journalist Pallava Bagla, Chandrayaan-2 left ISRO’s satellite centre in Bengaluru yesterday and is currently on the way to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR spaceport in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Chandrayaan-2 is expected to make a soft landing in the south polar region of the Moon on September 6. ISRO calls the landing “15 terrifying minutes”.

The launch vehicle for the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s tried and tested Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III). The lander (Vikram), rover (Pragyan), and orbiter modules are stacked together in a composite structure and are interfaced mechanically. When Chandrayaan-2 reaches the lunar orbit, the lander, with the rover inside it, will decouple itself from the orbiter and make its way to the surface.

ISRO is believed to have chosen the lunar south pole as it’s known to contain traces of water ice. Sunlight does not reach the bottom of many craters in this region. Hence, these craters are cold and expected to contain fossils of the early Solar System. Pragyan, whose name stands for “wisdom” in Sanskrit, is expected to move about on six wheels around the lunar south pole and conduct chemical analyses of the lunar surface.

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Vignesh Giridharan
Progressively identifies more with the term ‘legacy device’ as time marches on.
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