Chandrayaan-2, the proposed second Indian mission to moon, would undertake "extremely good" experiments and try out new technologies but accommodating foreign payloads on board does not appear to be a possibility at this stage.
The first edition of the moon odyssey had six foreign payloads and five Indian ones on board but heavy orbiter (satellite) and lander weight this time has put constraints on the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in terms of carry-load of instruments. "One of the problems was weight consideration.
Weight limitation is overall boundary within which we have to work", Prof U R Rao, who chaired the national committee of experts drawn from ISRO centres, academic institutions and R&D laboratories which finalised the payloads to be flown on board Chandrayaan-2 (orbiter and rover), told PTI.
With a heavy orbiter and lander, the weight of the payloads cannot exceed 40 kg. Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs about 2,650 kg at lift-off of which the orbiter weight is about 1,400 kg and lander's about 1,250 kg.
The mission, which will have an orbiter, a lander and a rover, is planned to be launched onboard Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, in 2013.
While the lander would be provided by Russia, the orbiter and the rover are being built by ISRO. Prof Rao, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Space Sciences (ADCOS) and former Chairman of ISRO, said there were informal discussions with players from the US and Europe on flying their payloads, even though ISRO had not issued "availability of opportunity" for foreign instruments.
"Right now, the weight problem is very serious", he said indicating that foreign payloads may not be included at all. "We just don’t have the weight. We cannot select payloads which cannot go".
But Rao said one or two additional Indian payloads might be included. "Obviously, we will give preference to Indian payloads now. We have to provide as much opportunities as possible to Indian scientists".
But he said the Russians would conduct experiments with their lander. Rao said Chandrayaan-2 would carry out experiments based on the discoveries of its predecessor. "It will conduct extremely good experiments, try out very new ideas and new technologies."