Buoyant ISRO gears up for second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 on July 15

CHENNAI: The Indian Space Agency is all set to explore hitherto an unexplored frontier, when its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, carrying an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan) as payloads, will be launched on July 15.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched from the Second Launch Pad at 0251 hrs early Monday next from the spaceport of Sriharikota by the heaviest home grown rocket, three-stage Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III), capable of launching 4-ton class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
Weighing 3,840 kg, Chandrayaan-2 is on a mission unlike any before.
Leveraging nearly a decade of scientific research and engineering
development, the second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely
unexplored section of the Moon—its South Polar region, a site not explored by any country yet, ISRO sources said.
Only Russia, the United States and China have soft-landed on the moon. A full dress rehearsal of the launch was conducted at the SHAR Range ahead of the launch.
This mission will help ISRO gain a better understanding of the origin and
evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface.
It would also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan 1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition.
Through this mission, ISRO aims to expand India’s footprint in space, inspire
a future generation of scientists, engineers and explorers and surpass international aspirations.
After its launch, Chandrayaan-2 will be injected into an earth parking 170 x 40,400 km orbit.
A series of maneuvers will be carried out to raise its orbit and put Chandrayaan-2 on Lunar Transfer Trajectory. On entering Moon’s sphere of influence, on-board thrusters will slow down the spacecraft for Lunar Capture. The Orbit of Chandrayaan-2 around the moon will be circularized to 100×100 km orbit through a series of orbital maneuvers. On the day of landing, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex maneuvers comprising of rough braking and fine braking.
Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones.
The lander-Vikram will finally land near South Pole of the moon on September six and subsequently, Rover will roll out and carry out experiments on Lunar surface for a period of one Lunar day which is equal to 14 Earth days.
The Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year. Chandrayaan-2 has several science payloads to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon. The Orbiter payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km, orbit while the Lander and Rover payloads will perform in-situ measurements near the landing site. For understanding of the Lunar composition, it was planned to identify the elements and mapping its distribution on the lunar surface both at global and In-situ level.
In addition detailed 3-dimensional mapping of the lunar regolith will be done. Measurements on the near surface plasma environment and electron density in the Lunar ionosphere will be studied. Thermo-physical property of the lunar surface and seismic activities will also be measured along with study of water molecule distribution using infra red spectroscopy, synthetic aperture radiometry and polarimetry as well as mass spectroscopy techniques. Other key payloads included Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer for Elemental composition of the Moon, Imaging IR Spectrometer for Mineralogy mapping and water-ice confirmation, Synthetic Aperture Radar L and S Band for Polar-region mapping and sub-surface water-ice confirmation, Orbiter High Resolution Camera for High-resolution topography mapping, Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment for Thermal conductivity and temperature gradient, Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope for In-situ elemental analysis and abundance in the vicinity of landing site.