File photo: This file photo shows ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-mark III-M1), being launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state. Photograph:( AFP )
Indian government has told parliament that Chandrayaan-3 mission was being realised taking into consideration factors observed during previous missions including Chandrayaan-2
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to launch its third Lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-3. The mission will be launched in August 2022. India's Minister of State for Science and Technology told this to the Indian Parliament in a written reply. He was responding to a question about the status of the mission.
He said that realisation of Chandrayaan-3 is in progress based on analysis of learnings from Chandrayaan-2 mission.
"Many related hardware and their special tests are successfully completed, the Launch is scheduled for August 2022" he added.
Following a lull in launch activity during two years of the pandemic, India has now planned for 19 missions in calendar year of 2022. The minister said that these would include eight launch vehicle missions, seven spacecraft (satellite) missions and four technology demonstration missions.
Notably, in a recent webinar, DR AS Kiran Kumar, former chairman of ISRO had explained that Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 and is meant to demonstrate lunar landing and roving capability. He said that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft would consist of a lander and rover carried on a propulsion module. He also added that the factors that led to unsuccessful Lunar landing of the Chandrayaan-2 lander were being taken care of in the latest mission.
About scientific payloads that are being carried on-board the lander and rover, he said, "The payloads on lander are Langmuir probe, Chandra's Surface Thermo Physical Experiment (ChaSTE) and Instrument for Lunar seismic activity (ILSA). The rover payloads are Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser Induced Breakdown spectroscope (LIBS)."
The former Chairman also elaborated that the Chandrayaan-3 lander is planned to perform an in-situ ChaSTE experiment of surface and sub-surface measurements of temperature.
It is meant to help understand the thermal exchange and physical properties of the uppermost Lunar soil. A thermal probe of 10cm length would be deployed on the Lunar surface to perform the experiment. On the uniqueness of the mission, he said that it was the only instrument in contact with Lunar surface/ subsurface and that is was the first-ever in-situ thermal measurement of the Lunar High Altitude region.
India's Lunar exploration journey began with a maiden mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and a second mission in 2019. While the 2008 mission was a success, the 2019 mission Chandrayaan-2 failed to land successfully on the Lunar surface. As of today, only an orbiter from this mission continues to circle the moon and is expected to perform remote sensing and mapping operations and relay the data back to earth for the next few years. However, the lander and the rover it contained perished on impact with the lunar surface, after the crash landing.
Around 2024-25, India and Japan are expected to launch a joint Lunar mission dubbed as 'LUPEX' or Lunar Polar Exploration Mission. This probe is meant to land at the Lunar South pole with a rover that weighs upto 350kg.
This rover is expected to carry science experiments made by Indian and Japanese teams and conduct in-situ sample analysis. This mission is expected to have a life of upto 6 months. The details regarding this mission that is in the planning stage were revealed by Dr Kiran Kumar, in the webinar.