Chandrayaan-2 mission takes off, now all eyes on September 7 moon landing
Chandrayaan-2 mission: India’s quest to land its first spacecraft on the moon got off to a smooth start on Monday afternoon, with the successful launch of the country’s most powerful rocket, GSLV MK-III. The launch vehicle lifted off from the Sriharikota launch range at its appointed time of 2.43 pm.
The mission would see the lander and rover modules of the spacecraft make a soft-landing on the moon’s surface 48 days from now, on September 7. Both of them will be ‘alive’ there for 14 days, during which they will carry out various experiments and collect data. The mission also has an Orbiter module that will go around the moon for the next one year in an orbit 100 km from the moon’s surface. During this time, the various instruments on board the Orbiter will study the moon’s surface, its atmosphere, prepare three-dimensional maps, and also search for further evidences of water.
After an aborted attempt last week, when scientists had to call off the launch of the mission less than an hour before the lift-off due to a technical glitch, there was some anxiety at the mission control, especially since the launch window was barely a couple of minutes long. But today’s launch went ahead without any trouble, as the massive 640-tonne GSLV Mk-III rocket carried the 3850-kg Chandrayaan-2 composite module into space.