The Indian Space Research Organisation will launch its second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2 in a few hours from now. In her first Budget speech on July 5, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had listed space programmes like Chandrayaan-2 as part of the vision to make India a $5-trillion economy. The Chandrayaan-2 launch will be a testament to India's deep space exploration capabilities.
The Chandrayaan-2 space mission will launch from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) rocket. This rocket will deliver rover Pragyan and lander Vikram to the surface of the moon. The launch will be telecasted live from Sriharikota across various platforms. Here are the launch date, and time for Chandrayaan-2, along with how to watch the launch, and other important facts about India's latest mission to the moon.
Chandrayaan-2 launch date, time and venue:
The Chandrayaan-2 launch will take place at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch is scheduled for 2:51 am on July 15, 2019.
How to watch Chandrayaan-2 launch live:
People who had registered their names earlier will be able to watch the launch of Chandrayaan-2 from the viewing gallery of Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Registrations are now closed. The launch of the Chandrayaan-2 can be viewed on live streaming services too. Chandrayaan-2 launch will be streamed live by the ISRO on its social media channels - Twitter and Facebook. People can also watch the live coverage of Chandrayaan-2's launch on Doordarshan's YouTube channel. Doordarshan will also live-stream the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on DD National from ISRO's mission control room and the launch pad.
Facts about Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission:
With Chandrayaan-2, India is seeking to become the fourth country to land on the moon after the US, China, and the former Soviet Union. The Chandrayaan-2 Lunar mission intends to soft-land the rover Pragyan and lander Vikram to an elevated plain, which is close to the Moon's South Polar Region on September 6 or 7.
The mission aims at improving the knowledge of the Moon with discoveries that will be beneficial to India and increase humans' understanding of space. Since the Moon is the closest cosmic body, the space discovery can be tried at as well as documented, it is also a promising touchstone to exhibit technologies imperative for deep-space missions.
The lunar South Pole is intriguing as its shadowed surface area is much bigger than at the North Pole. There also is a likelihood of water being present in the areas that permanently in shadow around the lunar South Pole. Moreover, the South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and comprise a fossil record of the early solar system.
Notably, Chandrayaan-2 is the first Indian mission with indigenous technology that will attempt a soft landing on the Moon's South Polar Region. It is also the first Indian mission to explore the moon's terrain with indigenous technology.
Facts about GSLV Mk-III, ISRO's 'Bahubali' rocket:
The Chandrayann-2 launch will use a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) rocket. Fondly called 'Fat Boy' ISRO scientists and popularly known as Bahubali, after SS Rajamouli's eponymous magnum opus, the GSLV Mk-III is one of the biggest and most-powerful rockets available in India.
The GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage rocket. The first stage consists of two solid motor strap-ons (S200) fitted to either side of the rocket. These tanks will provide the necessary initial thrust to push the rocket against the gravitational force and out of Earth's atmosphere. The strap-on tanks remain functional and fall back to the Earth around 140 seconds after launch.
The second stage of the propulsion consists of a liquid propellant core stage (L110) that burns liquid fuel and ignites 114 seconds after lift-off. The core booster is the primary source of thrust after the strap-on tanks detach from the rocket.
The final stage is a cryogenic engine (C25), designed for carrying the four-tonne class satellites, powered by CE-20. This is also India's largest cryogenic engine and is developed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. This engine is installed in the top part of the GSLV Mk-III and provides the last-mile thrust after the liquid core booster is separated from the rocket.
GSLV Mk-III was primarily designed to launch communication satellites into geostationary orbit. The rocket has a mass of around 640 tonnes and can carry up to 8,000 kg payload to lower earth orbit (LEO) and 4000 kg payload to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
Apart from Chandrayaan-2, GSLV Mk-III is also all set to be a part of ISRO's Gaganyaan mission, in which three Indians will be sent to space.