India’s Heavy Rocket ‘Bahubali’ Gearing up for Moon

  • India’s Heavy Rocket ‘Bahubali’ Gearing up for Moon

India’s Heavy Rocket ‘Bahubali’ Gearing up for Moon

"Everything is progressing normally", said an official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The success of Chandrayaan-2 mission will make India the fourth country in the world to land and ride on the Moon surface after the US, Russia and China.

In just four days times, India is set to launch its Chandrayaan-2 Moon mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the east coast of the country.

During the dry run, space scientists simulated a blast-off of the rocket, an 18 minute flight before setting free Chandrayaan-2 on its journey of more than three lakh km towards the Moon, and functioning of the Deep Space Network Station on the outskirts of Bengaluru. If it can achieve the hard feat of landing on the surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft landing in history, following the US, Russia and China, which now has the Chang'e 4 rover operating on the far side of the moon.

Why is this mission called Chandrayaan-2?

It will also carry its own scientific equipment to conduct experiments for a period of 14 days. Overall, the aim of the mission is to collect data on the moon's geology. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will circle the moon and provide information about its surface.

The 27-kg, six-wheeled rover "Pragyan", fitted with cameras and instruments, would analyse the lunar soil.

The ISRO has said it chose to explore the south pole as it is possible there is water in the permanently shadowed areas, which could pave the way for future lunar habitation.

The orbiter's other payloads are an Image IR Spectrometer for "global mineralogical and volatile mapping of the Moon"; Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar for high-res mapping of the polar region and a quantitative estimation of water-ice in those areas; CHACE 2 (Chandrayaan 2 Atmospheric Compositional Explorer 2) to continue an experiment started by Chandrayaan 1; and a Dual Frequency Radio Science Experiment to study the temporal evolution of electron density in the lunar ionosphere.

Aside from NASA's passive experiment, Chandrayaan-2's orbiter, soft lander and rover will carry the 13 instruments, all of which use Indian technology. The lander and rover have nominal lifetimes of one lunar daytime (14 Earth days). It won't feature humans, but Chandrayaan-2 is carrying three lunar exploration robots able to survey the moon from both the surface and the sky. The lander will only operate for a single lunar day (two weeks on Earth).

The spacecraft's orbit will be raised by a series of manoeuvres to put it on Lunar Transfer Trajectory.

On entering the Moon's sphere of influence, on-board thrusters will slow down the spacecraft for Lunar Capture. A lunar orbit insertion burn will place Chandrayaan-2 into an elliptical orbit and the spacecraft will begin braking to reduce its orbit to a 100-kilometer circle.