India’s journey to the moon!

India has successfully launched the Chandrayaan-2 mission on July 22, 2019. The mission will send an orbiter, lander, and rover to explore the moon’s south pole. Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander is expected to land around Sept. 6. Read our full wrap story: India Launches Ambitious Mission to Land at the Moon’s South Pole

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s planned second mission to the moon, which is expected to launch in 2019. It is a follow-up mission from the Chandrayaan-1 mission that assisted in confirming the presence of water/hydroxyl on the moon in 2009. Chandrayaan-2 will launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.

According to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the new mission will consist of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. The orbiter will perform a mapping from an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles), while the lander will make a soft landing on the surface and send out the rover.

Initially, ISRO planned to partner with Russia to perform Chandrayaan-2. The two agencies signed an agreement in 2007 to launch the orbiter and lander in 2013. Russia later pulled out of the agreement, however, according to a news report from The Hindu. The Russian lander’s construction was delayed after the December 2011 failure of Roscosmos’ Phobos-Grunt mission to the Martian moon of Phobos, the report stated.

Russia subsequently pulled out of Chandrayaan-2 altogether, citing financial issues. Some reports stated that NASA and the European Space Agency were interested in participating, but ISRO proceeded with the mission on its own.

The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will circle the moon and provide information about its surface, ISRO stated. “The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice,” ISRO said on its website. The mission will also send a small, 20-kilogram (44 lbs.), six-wheeled rover to the surface; the rover will move semi-autonomously, examining the lunar regolith’s composition.

This is the list of instruments on the orbiter, according to the Planetary Society:

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft (bottom) and its Vikram lander (top) are prepared to be encapsulated by a payload fairing before being loaded on their Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 rocket for a July 2019 launch.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft (bottom) and its Vikram lander (top) are prepared to be encapsulated by a payload fairing before being loaded on their Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 rocket for a July 2019 launch.

India’s Vikram moon lander (left) is moved into launch position on the Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter ahead of a planned July 2019 launch. The mission will send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the moon.

India’s Vikram moon lander (left) is moved into launch position on the Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter ahead of a planned July 2019 launch. The mission will send an orbiter, lander, and rover to the moon.

The target landing site for India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to explore the lunar south pole.

The target landing site for India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to explore the lunar south pole.

This Indian Space Research Organisation diagram shows the flight profile of the Chandrayaan-2 spaceraft as they fly to the moon between July and September 2019.

This Indian Space Research Organisation diagram shows the flight profile of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft as they fly to the moon between July and September 2019.

The India Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 moon orbiter, lander and rover launch into space atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island on July 22, 2019.

The India Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 moon orbiter, lander and rover launch into space atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island on July 22, 2019.

An artist’s illustration of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, and its Pragyan rover on the surface of the moon near the lunar south pole.

An artist’s illustration of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, and its Pragyan rover on the surface of the moon near the lunar south pole.

An Indian GSLV Mark III-M1 rocket carrying the country’s Chandrayaan-2 moon orbiter, lander and rover stands atop its launchpad on Sriharikota Island awaiting launch. Liftoff is set for July 22, 2019.

Terrain Mapping Camera 2 (TMC-2), which will map the lunar surface in three dimensions using two onboard cameras. A predecessor instrument called TMC flew on Chandrayaan-1.

Collimated Large Array Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS), which will map the abundance of minerals on the surface. A predecessor instrument called CIXS (sometimes written as C1XS) flew on Chandrayaan-1.

Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), which looks at emissions of solar X-rays.

Chandra’s Atmospheric Composition Explorer (ChACE-2), which is a neutral mass spectrometer. A predecessor instrument called CHACE flew on Chandrayaan-1’s Moon Impact Probe.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which will map the surface in radio waves. Some of its design is based on Chandrayaan-1’s MiniSAR.

Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS), which will measure the abundance of water/hydroxl on the surface.

Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) to examine the surface, particularly the landing site of the lander and rover.

The lander’s instruments include:

Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), to look for moonquakes.

Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE), to examine the surface’s thermal properties.

Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA-Langmuir Probe), to look at plasma density on the surface.

The rover will carry two science instruments to look at the composition of the surface: the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Via Space

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