ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 moon mission delayed a third time, new launch date unclear

We will be able to decide on a launch date for Chandrayaan-2 in about 10 to 12 days: ISRO Chairman.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed that the agency will not be launching Chandrayaan-2, its second lunar mission, on 3 January as announced earlier. For the time being, the agency doesn't have a confirmed date for launch.

With the many launches that were lined up in the second half of 2018, work on the moon mission was affected, reports The Times of India.

"At the moment, I cannot comment on the date. We will be able to decide on that in about 10 to 12 days," ISRO Chairman K Sivan said, according to the report.

This is the third delay that Chandrayaan-2's launch has seen since the project was announced – the first was in December 2016 and the second occured in October 2018.

ISROs Chandrayaan-2 moon mission delayed a third time, new launch date unclear

Representational image. AFP

ISRO is now scrambling to launch the mission at the earlier possible date in 2019, with the current window open from the first week of January to 16 February.

Chandrayaan-2, as well as China's ongoing Chang'e-4 moon mission, are aiming to achieve unique firsts in lunar exploration. At the time this story was written, the Chinese probe was positioned to land a lunar rover on the "far side" of the moon – the hemisphere that's always turned away from the Earth that has yet to be studied by a mission on the surface.

Chandrayaan-2, also a pioneering mission in its own right, is attempting to release its lander 'Vikram' on a previously unexplored region near the moon's South pole. Vikram and the rover on Chandrayaan-2 will touchdown at a site 600 kilometres from the lunar South pole.

If successful, the Chandrayaan-2 mission will be the first time a spacecraft lands so far from the lunar equator.

What is Chandrayaan-2 designed to study? What will it do once on the moon? Here's all the lunar science Chandrayaan-2 is aiming to work out.

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