Indian space scientists’ rendezvous with the moon will be delayed — albeit by a couple of months, this year.
Originally, Chandrayaan-I was to be launched on April 9, but will now start its journey to the moon in early July.
Two instruments, which are part of the package of experiments planned by the European Space Agency (ESA), arrived late. The late arrivals — from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics — have forced a change in schedule.
ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair told Hindustan Times on Monday that his colleagues worked on plans last week to decode the scientific data beamed by the lunar orbiter with the help of indigenous software. The data will be stored at the Deep Space Network (DSN) station on the outskirts of the city. The DSN will serve as the key command facility for the Rs 386 crore-Chandrayaan-I and ISRO’s other inter-planetary missions. Midway through the mission, a 50 kg impactor will be released to crash into the lunar surface, with a set of gadgets tuned to peer through the cloud set off by the collision.
ISRO scientists said the lunar orbiter will carry 11 instruments, including six from space agencies of the US, UK, Sweden, Germany and Bulgaria.