Isro gears up for Chandrayaan-3, Gaganyaan
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: India's historic lunar mission Chandrayan-2 completed its first anniversary on Wednesday. With the orbiter continuing to map the surface of the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said in a statement: "Extensive data has been acquired from Chandrayaan-2 payloads and parameters are being derived for the presence of water-ice in the polar regions, X-ray based and infrared spectroscopic mineral information and mid and high latitude presence of Argon-40, a condensable gas on the moon."
While Isro in September 2019 lost contact with its Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover, which was to make a touchdown on the dark side of the Moon, the orbiter has a mission life of seven years. Isro Chairman K Sivan said the Chandrayaan-2 mission achieved 98 per cent of its objectives. He said the orbiter was doing well and performing scheduled science experiments.
What next for Isro?
Isro is now in the midst of preparations for its next ambitious mission, the Chandrayaan-3, and its first manned mission, the Gaganyaan.
Scientists will incorporate lessons learnt from the failure of the Chandryaan-2 into the third mission with robust design and capacity enhancement for mission flexibility. While the type of payloads the Chandrayaan-3 will carry remains unknown so far, if is believed to retain all the main objectives of the Chandryaan-2 and consist of payloads identical to those within the Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that an Indian astronaut would go into space by 2022, Isro received its timeline for its most complicated mission. The Gaganyaan is a crewed orbital spacecraft expected to carry three astronauts into space for at least seven days. The spacecraft is likely to consist of an Orbital Module which will have a service and a crew module. The mission is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore. The GSLV Mk-III, now called LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3), will be deployed for the launch.
What's happening globally?
While India aims to strengthen its position in the space race, global missions are also underway to explore the vastness of the cosmos. Here's a look at some of these:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the newest member in an exclusive club of nations to send a spacecraft to Mars when it successfully launched the Hope Probe from Japan on Monday. A newcomer in space development, the UAE has successfully put three Earth observation satellites into orbit. Two were developed by South Korea and launched by Russia, and a third, its own, was launched by Japan. A successful Hope mission to Mars would be a major step for the oil-dependent economy seeking a future in space.
China successfully launched its first Mars probe, Tianwen-1, on Thursday from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan. The probe includes an orbiter and a rover and it is expected to reach Mars in February to explore the planet for 90 days, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
Perseverance Rover Mission
The National Aeronautical and Space Administration (Nasa) is in the final stage of its preparation for one of its most crucial launches of 2020 — the Perseverance rover mission to Mars. The agency has announced that the spacecraft will be launched on July 30 as the Red Planet makes its closest approach to the Earth. Part of an ongoing robotic exploration of the planet, this mission will last at least 687 days or one Martian year.