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Rain or shine, moon mission will take off on Monday
National

Rain or shine, moon mission will take off on Monday

S Murari

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) chief K Sivan said in Tirupati on Saturday that the second moon mission  in a decade will take off as scheduled, rain or shine, and the rocket Bahubali will blast off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on Monday, July 15.

Keeping with the tradition of ISRO scientists, Sivan also prayed at the Tirumala temple for the success of the mission. Talking to reporters, Sivan said “the launch vehicle is rain protected and the rocket will take off at 2.58 a.m. on Monday and the rover will make a soft landing on the south pole of the moon one month later”.

It comes a decade after Chandrayaan 1. What it makes it special is that the rover will make a soft landing on the south pole of the moon, unlike earlier one which crash landed. Only four other countries have soft-landed their vehicles.

The lunar orbiter will be launched by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III). It includes a lunar orbiter and lander, besides the rover, all developed indigenously.

Chandrayaan-2 will attempt a soft landing of the lander and the rover in a high plain between two craters. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and perform on-site chemical analysis. It will relay data to earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander.

Chandryaan1, India’s first lunar probe which operated from October 2008 to August 2009 discovered water ice in the south pole of the moon. It separated from the orbiter in November 2008 and struck the lunar surface in the south pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to plant its flag on the moon.

A year later, its star sensors failed and the thermal shield also malfunctioned. As a result, it stopped sending signals, and ISRO officially declared the mission was over.