After the successful launch of communication satellite GSAT-29, the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K. Sivan, has informed reporters that ISRO plans on conducting two unmanned missions before embarking on the human space mission in 2022; the first of which has been scheduled for December, 2019.
The first of the two unmanned mission will be in December 2019. Efforts are being taken to get the GSLV-Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) human-rated. – K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO
P. Kunhikrishnan, Director, UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), has added that the Orbiter, Lander, and Rover that are to be carried by Chandrayaan-2 are in different stages of development; with the Lander finishing qualification tests. Shivan has said, for his part, that the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will be transported to the moon by a GSLV-Mk III rocket in January 2019; while the space agency is working on materializing 10 space missions before then.
PRL Director Dr. Anil Bhardwaj, said to reporters from the sidelines of the 15th International Symposium on Equatorial Aeronomy, organized at the main PRL campus, that, “There are three payloads developed by the PRL for Chandrayaan-2. The orbiter will have a solar X-ray monitor developed by PRL. It will monitor x-rays coming from the Sun and X-rays being generated on the surface of the moon.” PRL is a unit of Department of Space and was established in 1947.
“On the lander, there will be Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE). This is a probe which will measure the temperature beneath the surface by getting inside the surface of the moon. It will do so after the lander lands on the moon,” says the director, in addition to the information that this equipment will also be developed by PRL. ChaSTE is one of the science experiments proposed to be conducted on the lunar surface in the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
Bhardwaj says that PRL has developed an instrument called ‘Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer’ for the Rover, which is to come out of the Lander and roam the lunar surface; adding that, “This instrument is designed to identify various elements and chemical compounds on the surface of the moon.”
As of now, the information available on the mission states that it shall take a month or two for the orbiter to reach its designated place around the moon; after reaching which the lander and rover will depart from it. After a controlled fall, the lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specific site and place the rover on the said surface. The rover will the spend the next 14 days on the lunar surface and cover a distance of 150-200 km on the moon; with the instruments on the rover observing the lunar surface when it walks on the moon. These instruments have also been equipped to perform an on-site chemical investigation; the data from which will be sent back to earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter (rover will send the data to the orbiter and the orbiter will send it back to earth) to analyze the lunar soil.
Apart from all this, PRL is also developing instruments for ‘Aditya-L1 mission’, aimed at studying the Sun through a satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, says Bharadwaj. An instrument for the measurement of charged particles has also been developed for the mission, Bhardwaj added, along with the information that, “With this instrument, we will be able to study solar winds, charged particles, and its energy range.”
According to ISRO’s official website, the satellite will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1, 1.5 million km from the earth.
The project has been approved and the satellite is scheduled to launch in the 2019-2020 time frame by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota.