Chandrayaan 2: India's biggest space mission to explore the Moon's surface, the Chandrayaan 2, is scheduled to launch in the wee hours of July 15, 2019, from Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island. The launch will take place on a 'Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle' (GSLV) Mark III of ISRO. The Chandrayaan 2 mission is set to explore the south polar region of the Moon which is also known as Dark Side of the Moon due to the absence of sunlight in and around the craters of the Lunar Polar surface.
Chandrayaan 2 mission will include three modules along with the rocket, namely the Orbiter, The Lander 'Vikram', and the Rover 'Pragyaan.' The trajectory of the mission has been planned to place the Orbitor in the Moon's orbit through a series of orbital expansion and manoeuvres. The launcher will then make its way to the polar region of the Moon in the next phase of the mission and release the rover on the Moon's surface for scientific data collection.
Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram, rover Pragyaan and other important facts
The Lander of the Chandrayaan 2 has been named after the father of the Indian Space Programme, Dr Vikram A Sarabhai. The life span of Vikram is one lunar day which is equivalent to 14 Earth days. Vikram has the capability to communicate with The Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bangalore according to ISRO's website. Vikram can communicate with the Rover and the Orbiter too.
It is widely being asked about how the Lander 'Vikram' will soft-land the rover 'Pragyaan' on Moon's South Polar region. The ISRO website suggests that 'Vikram' the landing module of Chandrayaan 2 has a weight of 1471 kg and a capability to generate 650 W of electric power. It will carry key payloads which include a camera, seismometer, Langmuir probe, thermal profiler, and a NASA-supplied laser retro-reflector, according to information available on the NASA website. Vikram has been designed to execute a soft landing on the Moon's surface.
The rocket GSLV Mark III will inject Chandrayaan 2 into its designated orbit which is known as the Earth's Parking (170x40400 Km) Orbit (EPO) which will be followed by a series of manoeuvres to raise the orbit and put Chandrayaan 2 on the Lunar Transfer Trajectory with the help of onboard thrusters. The orbiter will then be placed around the Moon in a 100 x 100 Km orbit through a series of orbital manoeuvres. This is how the orbiter will be placed above the Moon.
On the day of landing, the lander 'Vikram' will detach from the orbiter and perform a series of complex actions comprising of rough braking and fine braking. The site of the landing will be imaged beforehand, in order to find safe and hazard-free zones to make the landing safe. The Chandrayaan 2 lander Vikram will finally land near the south pole of the Moon on September 6, 2019. The rover 'Pragyaan' will rollout the lander to inspect the Moon's surface and collect scientific data.