Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch its second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 during the first quarter of 2018. An official release as a part of Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh’s written reply to a parliament question in Rajya Sabha mentioned that.
For the next moon mission, ISRO has started a series of ground tests for testing the performance of sensors and actuators for a soft landing of the Lander on the lunar surface.
The release said, “Special tests for new systems in Lander have been identified and a Lander Sensors Performance Test over artificial craters created in Chitradurga district in Karnataka, has been conducted. Lunar Terrain Test facility is ready for Lander drop test and Rover mobility tests.”
It was told that Chandrayaan-2 comprises of indigenous Orbiter, Lander and Rover. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate the Orbiter. The Lander will soft land on the lunar surface after a controlled descent and deploy a Rover. The instruments on the Rover will then collect data for analysis of the lunar soil. Chandrayaan-2 is an advanced version of the previous mission.
India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched successfully on January 22, 2008, from SDSC, Sriharikota. The spacecraft of Chandrayaan-1 was orbiting around the moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the moon. During May 2009 the orbit has been raised to 200 km.
The satellite made more than 3400 orbits around the moon and the mission was over when on August 29, 2009, the communication with the spacecraft was lost.
In 2010, it was decided that Russian Space Agency ROSCOSMOS would be responsible for lunar Lander and ISRO would be responsible for Orbiter and Rover. But due to a shift in the programmatic alignment of the mission, it was decided that ISRO would take the responsibility of the Lunar Lander and with that Chandryaan-2 will be totally an Indian mission.