The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is currently working on the Chandrayaan-3 project which might be pushed to 2021 as opposed to the earlier speculation of a 2020 launch. ISRO chairman K Sivan on Wednesday said, “Government has approved Chandrayaan-3, the project is ongoing. However, the project might take 14-16 months, which could result in works being pushed to 2021,” reported PTI.
What is Chandrayaan-3
As the name suggests, the Chandrayaan-3 is the successor to the Chandrayaan-2 mission and it will likely attempt another soft-landing on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander had a hard landing, and crashed on the lunar surface. ISRO chairman K Sivan told the press that the new mission will have a lander, rover, and a propulsion module.
He also said that the space agency has formed the Chandrayaan-3 project team and the work is going on smoothly. The ISRO website is yet to update the information regarding the functioning of Chandrayaan-3 along with the list of scientific instruments that will be carried over to the Moon on board the mission.
Chandrayaan-3 mission cost
As per ISRO, the total cost of Chandrayaan-3 mission will be over Rs 600 crores. In comparison, the total cost of the Chandrayaan-2 mission was Rs 960 crores.
Sivan said that the Chandrayaan-3 mission will cost Rs 250 crores for the lander, rover, and propulsion module, whereas the launch of the mission will cost another Rs 365 crores. It makes the total cost of mission equal to Rs 615 crores.
Focus areas for ISRO
ISRO chairman recalled the achievements of ISRO in 2019 and outlined the focus areas for the space agency. “In 2019, our strategy mainly was the expansion program. We wanted to expand ISRO horizontally. The second strategy adopted in 2019 was the capacity building on an outreach program. The third one is the reduction of the physical work in ISRO,” reported ANI. Sivan also announced that the land acquisition for a second spaceport has been initiated. The new port will be in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu.
There’s also Gaganyaan
The year 2020 is also going to be the year of Gaganyaan– India’s manned lunar mission. ISRO is working parallelly on Gaganyaan project along with the Chandrayaan-3. The space agency has already constituted an advisory committee for the Gaganyaan. ISRO chairman informed that they have identified four astronauts and their training will commence in Russia from the third week of January in 2020.
What happened to Chandrayaan-2
India’s dream of landing a spacecraft on the moon remained unfulfilled as the Vikram lander onboard the Chandrayaan-2 mission failed to perform a soft-landing on Moon. The landing of Vikram to be in a plain about 600 km from the south pole of the Moon, and would made India, the fourth nation in the world to achieve a successful soft-landing on the lunar surface. US space agency NASA confirmed in December, that the debris had been located, a discovery which it credited to Chennai-based techie Shanmuga Subramanian.
However, as per ISRO, the mission managed to complete 90-95 per cent of its objectives. Sivan said that even though India could not land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still functioning and “it is going to function for the next seven years to produce science data”.
To a question on what went wrong with Vikram lander, he said that it was due to velocity reduction failure. “The velocity reduction failure was due to internal reasons,” he said.