The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) plans to persist with the GSLV to propel the country’s 2013 Chandrayaan-2 moon mission despite the launch vehicle's spectacular failure on Saturday – its fourth in seven attempts – space officials said on Sunday.
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan said on Saturday that the Chandrayaan-2 mission project would be reviewed after the GSLV-F06 failed 47 seconds after take-off, fuelling suggestions that the space agency may be looking for alternate launch vehicles.
But officials of the space agency told HT on Sunday that Isro was continuing with its plan to use the GSLV as the launch vehicle for the 2013 moon mission. "We are not dumping the GSLV as
the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan-2. We have three years to fine-tune the launch vehicle," a senior Isro scientist told HT.
Isro spokesperson S Satish also confirmed that the space agency was not mulling shifting to the tried and tested PSLV for Chandrayaan-2. "As of now, our plan is to use the GSLV," he said.
The choice of launch vehicle is critical for the 2013 moon mission because the PSLV – the Indian space programme's reliable workhorse – cannot carry the payload planned for the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
On course despite disaster
Isro is continuing with its plan to use the GSLV as the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan-2, the 2013 moon mission.
The choice of launch vehicle is critical because the PSLV can’t carry the payload planned for the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
Reducing the weight of Chandrayaan-2 would mean offloading payloads and reducing the scientific potential of the project.
Chandrayaan-2 would have to significantly shed its currently proposed weight of 2,650 kg at lift off in order for the PSLV to serve as its launch vehicle. The GSLV is the sole Indian launch vehicle that can carry 2,650 kg.
The Chandrayaan-2 project – a tie up between Isro and the Russian Federal Space Agency – involves an orbiter and a rover, together carrying seven payloads. The payloads consist of scientific equipment meant to collect samples of rock and soil, conduct chemical analysis and transmit the data to the orbiter.
Reducing the weight of Chandrayaan-2 would mean offloading payloads and reducing the scientific potential of the project. The only option other than using the GSLV, without compromising on the payloads, would involve depending on a foreign launch vehicle like the European Ariane. But that would mean giving up a part of the pride associated with the project.