India to launch Chandrayaan-2 in early 2018
The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon,in the first quarter of 2018.
Chandrayaan-2, a totally indigenous mission comprising of Orbiter, Lander and Rover, will look for, among other things, the abundance of minerals and presence of water-ice on Earth’s only natural satellite.
The exact date of the launch has not yet been confirmed by the ISRO.
The Orbiter and Rover flight systems are in advanced stage of realisation while Payloads are under development at various ISRO Centres and laboratories.
ISRO has a number of launches lined up for 2017, from which it looks to earn profits. The organisation earned more than $62 million from launches conducted for other countries in 2014-15. The Chandrayaan-2, however, will be an Indian launch, but the data gathered from it should be available to scientists across the world.
Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha said, “Realisation of an indigenous lander is in progress. Special tests for new systems in the lander have been identified and a Lander Sensors Performance Test (phase-1) over artificial craters created in the Chitradurga district in Karnataka has been conducted. A Lunar Terrain Test facility is ready for the lander drop and rover mobility tests.”
In 2010, it was agreed that Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS would be responsible for lunar Lander and ISRO will be responsible for Orbiter and Rover as well as Launch by GSLV. Later, due to a shift in the programmatic alignment of this mission, it was decided that the Lunar Lander development would be done by ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 will be totally an Indian mission.