Hours to go before launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s first lunar landing mission
Chandrayaan-2: Known as ISRO’s most powerful launcher and measuring 44 metres in height, the 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) that will launch Chandrayaan-2, has been nicknamed ‘Bahubali’.
The countdown to the lift-off of the country’s heavy rocket carrying Chandrayaan-2 has begun. In a few hours from now at 2.51 am on Monday morning, ISRO will launch the nation’s first lunar landing mission, in what has been described as one of the most complex missions ever undertaken by the Indian space agency.
Sixteen minutes into its flight, the ₹375 crore GSLV-Mk III rocket is expected to launch the ₹603 crore Chandrayaan-2 into an Earth parking orbit.
“The countdown commenced at 6.51 am on Sunday,” K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told news agencies.
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Known as ISRO’s most powerful launcher and measuring 44 metres in height, the 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) that will launch Chandrayaan-2, has been nicknamed ‘Bahubali’. The three-stage vehicle is capable of launching 4-tonne class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
The distance between the Earth and the moon is about 3.844 lakh km.
Chandryaan-2 will separate from the rocket 973.7 seconds after its launch. The landing on the surface of the moon will take place 54 days after the launch. The lander-orbiter separation will take place on the 50th day.
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At the time of launch, the Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter will be capable of communicating with the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu, as well as with the Vikram lander. The mission life of the Orbiter is one year, during which it will be placed in a 100 x 100 km lunar polar orbit.
Chandrayaan 2’s lander is named Vikram after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian Space Programme. It is designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days. Vikram has the capability to communicate with IDSN at Byalalu near Bangalore, as well as with the Orbiter and Pragyan rover. The lander is designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface at a touchdown velocity of 2 metres per second.
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During the countdown, the rocket and the spacecraft’s systems will undergo checks and fuel will be filled to power the rocket engines.
According to ISRO, filling of the liquid fuel in the Liquid Core Stage has been completed on Sunday.
Incidentally, GSLV-Mk III will also be used for India’s manned space mission slated in 2022.
(With inputs from agencies).