Chandrayaan 2 launch: ISRO successfully launches India's second moon mission aboard the GSLV Mk-III

Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to make a soft landing in a region 600 kilometres away from the lunar South pole.

ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 mission had a successful lift-off today, at 2.43 pm IST from a launchpad in Sriharikota. It carries a lander and orbiter and the rover is tucked into the lander. The lander Vikram will attempt a soft landing on the moon by 7 September. The Indian space agency used the GSLV Mk-III which is the heaviest rocket to be built by India.

Chandrayaan 2 is going to explore a previously unexplored area on the moon the south pole after Chandrayaan-1 confirmed the presence of water-ice on the surface of the moon. This is India's most ambitious mission and if successful will cement India's position as a leading low-cost space power.

Chandrayaan 2. image credit: ISRO

Chandrayaan 2. image credit: ISRO

The mission was earlier called off on 15 July due to a 'technical snag' only 56 minutes before the launch. ISRO chairperson K.Sivan said that thirty-six hours after the problem was detected, the engineers worked around the clock and fixed it. The trio are now on their way to the moon and expected to reach only a day later on 7 September.

The GSLV Mk-III has its own Orbiter propulsion module which will power the vehicle's escape out of Earth's orbit and into the Moon's. Once the spacecraft reaches the Moon's orbit, it will attempt to make a soft landing in a region 600 kilometres away from the lunar South pole.

Also read: The launch highlights off ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 Moon mission

There are a total of 13 payloads in the entire mission and one payload form NASA. There are nine payloads on the orbiter and three on the lander. The Pragyaan rover will roll out of the Vikram lander carrying an array of scientific instruments meant to study the lunar surface. The 20-kilogram, six-wheeled Pragyaan rover is a semi-autonomous robot that is tasked with studying the composition of regolith, the mixture of tiny moon rocks and fine dust the blankets the Moon's surface.

The orbiter module of Chandrayaan 2 will orbit the moon for an estimated life mission of a year and relay data and information about conditions on the surface, ISRO states on its website. The mission life of the rover and the lander is 14 Earth days which is half a day on the moon.

Chandrayaan-2 is India's second mission to the moon and its first to attempt a soft landing. It is a follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-1, which launched in October 2008.

With inputs from Reuters

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