ISRO is all set to launch Chandrayaan 1, the moon mission, in the third quarter of this year.
Confirming this, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said on Monday, “Our next mission will be Chandrayan for which all instruments are ready and being tested.” Speaking to reporters after the launch of PSLV-C9, Nair said the mission would place “a modest 500 kilo satellite” on an elliptical satellite orbit around the moon for mapping its terrain and mineral content.
To cover the distance of the moon, the PSLV would be powered with 3 tonnes of extra fuel. During its two-year lifespan, the satellite would orbit the moon first at 1,000 km before descending to 100 km from the surface sending data about the features and undulations of the moon’s surface.
As for ISRO’s manned mission, it is awaiting the government’s nod, after which it will take seven years for India’s first manned mission to take place. “The mission would involve sending a crew of two astronauts on a low earth orbit using a GSLV launcher. Safety and reliability of the crew module and its re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere are crucial issues that have to be addressed. Also, the module has to be under complete radio visibility throughout its orbit,” explained K. Radhkarishnan director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, which is designing the spacecraft for the manned mission. The manned flight would be preceded by three unmanned flights to test the efficacy of the mission.