vendredi 12 juillet 2019

Moon mission for an Indian probe

ISRO - Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

July 12, 2019

A few days before the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first men on the Moon, Mumbai will launch a device on the star of the night.

India launches its second lunar mission on Monday with the objective of becoming the fourth nation to set a plane on the moon, a big step for its thrifty but ambitious space program.

A few days before the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the first men on the moon, the Indian space agency ISRO plans to launch on Monday July 15 at 02:51 local (23:21 Sunday) its Chandrayaan-2 mission from the firing point of Sriharikota (south-east from India).

New Delhi has spent $ 140 million - much less than other major space agencies for missions like this - on this expedition to land a lander and a mobile robot on September 6 at the south pole of the natural satellite. located some 384,000 kilometers from the Earth.


Chandrayaan-2 ("Lunar Trolley" in Hindi) will consist of an orbiter, an undercarriage and a rover, for a total weight of 3.8 tons. The whole will be propelled into the atmosphere by a rocket GSLV-MkIII, the most powerful Indian launcher, equivalent to a European rocket Ariane 5.

The fifteen minutes of the final descent of the lander Vikram, planned to land on a high plateau between the craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N, "will be the most terrifying moments because we have never undertaken such a complex mission," K. Sivan, the director of ISRO, recently told the press.

If the mission goes according to plan, India would become the fourth country in the world - after the Soviet Union, the United States and China - to successfully pose a device on the moon. An Israeli probe missed its moon landing in April.


A 27-kilogram Indian rover, Pragyan, should then tread the lunar soil in search of traces of water and "fossil signs of the early solar system," according to ISRO.

The vehicle will run on solar energy and should be able to walk on a lunar day, fourteen days on land. It can travel up to 500 meters.

International influence

This Indian mission is part of a renewed international interest for the Moon. The man, who strode for the last time in 1972, is preparing for his return. The US government has asked NASA to return astronauts for 2024.

The return to the Moon is seen as an essential step in the preparation of manned flights to more distant destinations, in the foreground of which the planet Mars.

The Chandrayaan-2 project is the second lunar mission of the South Asian giant, who had placed a probe in orbit around the moon during the Chandrayaan-1 mission eleven years ago.


The Indian space program has been noted in recent years by its combination of ambition and budget sobriety, with operating costs well below those of its counterparts, as well as its progression at no charge.

ISRO is planning to send a crew of three astronauts into space by 2022, which would be his first manned flight. Its scientists are also working on the development of its own space station, expected over the next decade.

The current Indian Prime Minister, the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, pays particular attention to the space program. Beyond scientific research, he sees it as a lever of international influence and constitutive of a great national narrative on the rise of his country of 1.3 billion people.


"A spacecraft mission of the complexity of Chandrayaan-2 sends the message that India is capable of accomplishing difficult technological development endeavors," said Amitabha Ghosh, a scientist who collaborated on NASA's Martian missions.

Expert space at the New Delhi Observer Research Foundation, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan believes Chandrayaan-2 will enhance India's prestige "at a time when international space programs, and especially Asian programs, are increasingly competing ".

For more informations about ISRO and Chandrayaan-2 mission, visit:

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): https://www.isro.gov.in/

Chandrayaan-2 mission: https://www.isro.gov.in/chandrayaan2-home-0

Images, Text, Credits: AFP/ISRO/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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