India’s space program takes a look at the Moon with the Chandrayaan-2, the second lunar exploration mission that was developed by the Indian Space Research Organization. In this article, we cover the Chandrayaan-2 launch date, details, and aftermath. The Moon, planet Earth’s satellite has been an object of inspiration for mankind since its dawn, for India, the Chandrayaan program is the country’s latest push towards the space race.
After signing an agreement with the Russian space agency Roscosmos in November 2007, the Indian government set out to launch satellites for lunar exploration. The program had it’s few slips because the Russians weren’t able to complete certain parts of the device on time. Still, the schedule moved on.
The Chandrayaan-2 Lander set out to prove the ability to soft-land and operate a robotic rover on the surface of the Moon.
The scientific goals of the orbiter were to study the topography and elements of the Moon. It had the purpose of studying it’s exosphere and traces of water ice, studying the water ice in the south polar region, and how thick lunar regolith is on the surface, and lastly, mapping the surface of Earth’s satellite to make 3D maps of it.
Consisting of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, the Chandrayaan-2 has the task of exploring Earth’s satellite with Indian technology, putting the country in the space race. The orbiter from the Chandrayaan-2 orbits the Moon at an altitude of 100 kilometers, carrying an array of eight scientific instruments, including a High-Resolution camera which conducted high-resolution observations of the landing site prior separating the Lander from the orbiter. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited built the orbiter device.
The Lander, named Vikram —Sanskrit for Valour— bears that name honoring Vikram Sarabhai, who was the founder of the Indian space program. The Vikram lander detaches from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. It descends into low lunar orbit, performing a soft landing that deploys the rover, called Pragyan —Sanskrit for Wisdom—, which would operate for 14 Earth days gathering information.
Chandrayaan-2 Launch Date
The Chandrayaan-2 launched on July 22, 2019, from Sriharikota Island of Andra Pradesh. After detaching from the Chandrayaan-2, the Vikram crash-landed while trying to soft-land, this crash tilted the Lander. If it had been a successful launch, it would have been the first mission to land a rover in the south pole of the Moon. The orbiter gathered extensive information on the surface. The reason for the crash was that during descent, the control room lost complete contact with the Vikram lander.
The contact point remained undefined until the Goddard center of the US space agency —NASA— published images that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter took of the site in which marks of the crash are visible and the remains of the device.