Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar mission. After the success of India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) decided for a second lunar mission. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on July 15. The landing on the moon near the South Pole, an uncharted territory, would be on Sept 6 or 7. This is the Indian space agency’s most complex mission so far. The total mission cost is about Rs.63 crore. It will be launched by GSLV Mk-III rocket of India. Launch cost is estimated about Rs.375 crore.

GSLV rocket of ISRO
GSLV MK-III launch Vehicle
This is India’s first mission in which we have orbiter along with a lander and a rover. The life span expected for orbiter is about 1 year (which may be later expanded) and both lander and rover has an expected life span of 15 days (which can also be expanded)The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will perform on-site chemical analysis. The data collected will be relayed to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. Chandrayaan-2 would make India the 4th country to soft-land on the Moon, a feat achieved only by the space agencies of the US, USSR, and China.

Initially the ROSCOSMOS (Russian space agency) and ISRO signed an agreement for the two agencies to work together on the Chandrayaan-2 project. ISRO would have the prime responsibility for the orbiter and rover, while Roscosmos was to provide the lander. Although ISRO finalised the payload for Chandrayaan-2 per schedule, the mission was postponed in January 2013 and rescheduled to 2016 because Russia was unable to develop the lander on time. Roscosmos later withdrew in wake of the failure of the Fobos-Grunt mission to Mars, since the technical aspects connected with the Fobos-Grunt mission were also used in the lunar projects. This factor played a huge role in delaying of Chandrayaan-2 mission.

After the withdrawal of ROSCOSMOS, ISRO along with other Indian research institutes indigenously developed the orbiter, Vikram lander (named after Vikram Sarabai who is widely regarded as father of Indian Space Program) and Pragyan rover. The Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) will conduct high-resolution observations of the landing site prior to separation of the lander from the orbiter.


Orbiter payload:

·        Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (LASS) from ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore and Solar X-ray monitor (XSM) from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad for mapping major elements present on the lunar surface.

·        L and S band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) from Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad for probing the first few tens of metres of the lunar surface for the presence of different constituents, including water ice. SAR is expected to provide further evidence confirming the presence of water ice below the shadowed regions of the Moon.

·        Imaging IR Spectrometer (IIRS) from SAC, Ahmedabad for mapping of lunar surface over a wide wavelength range for the study of minerals, water molecules and hydroxyl present.

·        Neutral Mass Spectrometer (ChACE-2) from Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), Thiruvananthapuram to carry out a detailed study of the lunar exosphere.

·        Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) from SAC, Ahmedabad for preparing a three-dimensional map essential for studying the lunar mineralogy and geology.

Vikram lander payload:

·        Seismometer for studying Moon-quakes near the landing site

·        Thermal probe for estimating the thermal properties of the lunar surface

·        Langmuir probe for measuring the density and variation of lunar surface plasma

·        Radio occultation experiment for measuring the total electron content

·      laser retroreflector array (LRA) by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for precise measurements of the Earth–Moon distance.

Pragyan rover payload:

·        Laser induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) from Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS), Bangalore.

·        Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope (APIXS) from PRL, Ahmedabad.

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