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India is gearing up to launch Chandrayaan-II by 2016-17, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said on Friday.
“We are targeting end of 2016 or beginning of 2017. This time it will be an indigenous launch. Chandrayaan-II will be equipped with Indian lander and rover and will be launched by GSLV,” he said.
Chandrayaan–I, India’s first unmanned lunar probe was launched using a PSLV-XL rocket by Isro in 2008.
The ISRO chief said that Chandrayaan–II was supposed to be an Indo-Russia joint mission, but after a failed mission in 2011, Russia decided to review it. “The review would have put our mission on hold till 2017, so we decided to go ahead on our own and build our own lander and rover. We have done a feasibility study and would be able to develop a lander and rover in 2-3 years.
"There are important technological aspects that have to be considered including reducing the velocity, mechanism involved to land and locate precisely where to land.”
Talking about other projects in the pipeline he said, “Major focus will be on the development of next generation launch vehicle GSLV MK 111 which is currently in in its final stages. This will make us capable enough to launch 4T class communication satellite.
"New capabilities in earth observation are planned with the development of Geo Imaging Satellites(GISAT)to provide near real time images of large areas of the country."
Lauding the effort made by Isro to make its presence felt in the social media he said: “Our facebook page on Mars mission has generated more than 3 lakh likes. The page on GSLV has received over 39,000 likes in less than a week. Even our Twitter account has generated a large following. We are happy to see the enthusiasm this has generated among the youth. Now we will be using You Tube for spreading the story of India’s space programme.”