Sunday, January 3, 2010

ISRO aims for 2013 launch of Chandrayaan-II

The first robotic rover on the Moon in almost forty years? Following the phenomenal engineering success (despite an eventual loss to thermal failure last year) of India first lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation is cooperating with the only nation ever to deploy lunar rovers to build one of their own. Though its eventual design is still on the drawing board, Chandrayaan-II has been advertised as an orbiter-rover combination. India is working with Russia to build what may be the first lunar rover to be deployed on the Moon since 1976. [India Times/ISRO]

In Monday's morning edition of the Times of India comes an announcement that ISRO is aiming for the far side of earlier estimates of when it would launch Chandrayaan-II.

"The launch of India’s next moon mission, Chandrayaan-II, will be in the first quarter of 2013 as per schedule, its project head (told reporters in Tiruchi) Sunday.

"The project is shaping up as per schedule, (according to) Mylswamy Annadurai, project director of both Chandrayaan-I and II for the Indian Space Research Organization...

"Chandrayaan II, the second lunar mission, a four-year project under Indo-Russian collaboration, is being executed by ISRO after the success of Chandrayaan I.

"The designs of the rover and orbiter for the mission have been finalized and the fabrication will begin shortly. Chandrayaan-II, also an unmanned mission, will land on the lunar surface and make chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the moon to confirm Chandrayaan-I’s findings.

"Unlike the first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-II will not have 11 payloads. (With) fewer instruments, Annadurai said, (the lunar rover) will also investigate the presence of water."

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