Chandrayaan 2, India's second moon spacecraft was launched on June 22, 2019. Three years ago on this date, the spacecraft made history as it was inserted into the lunar orbit on August 20, 2019.
Though the soft-landing attempt of the lander Vikram was not successful, the orbiter, which was equipped with eight scientific instruments, was successfully placed in lunar orbit.
The mission has accomplished the objective of expanding lunar scientific knowledge through a detailed study of topography, mineralogy, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics and tenuous lunar atmosphere leading to a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the moon, it added.
What were the objectives of the Chandrayaan-2 project
- Studying and mapping the lunar terrain
- Mineralogical analysis of rocks and soil
- Studying the lunar ionosphere
- Measuring moon-quakes and studying the lunar crust and mantle
Challenges that ISRO faced before the launch
The Indian Space Research Organisation faced many challenges during the launch of the historic spacecraft.
- Trajectory: Ensuring trajectory accuracy over 384,400km to Moon is difficult, especially while navigating the non-uniform gravitation pull of the Earth, the Moon, and other astronomical bodies.
- Deep space communications: The communication with earth will be only through weak radio signals with heavy background noise due to the heavy distance from where the orbiter will be inserted.
- Trans-lunar injection: To get to the lunar orbit for landing on the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 had to perform a series of complex burns to change orbit.
- Lunar orbit: Lunar gravity is lumpy due to uneven mass, influencing Chandrayaan’s orbit.
- Lunar dust: Firing engines close to the lunar surface results flow of dust, which is negatively charged and sticks to most surfaces and can cause disruption in the deployment of solar panels, sensors etc.
- Temperatures: A lunar day sees extreme variation in surface temperatures, along with the vacuum which in turn made the environment hostile for operations.
Is Chandrayaan 3 going to be launched soon?
Chandrayaan-3, India's lunar mission, is likely to be launched during the quarter of 2022, Union minister Jitendra Singh said earlier, stressing that its progress was hampered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Singh added that the realisation of Chandrayaan-3 involves a various processes, including finalisation of configuration, subsystems realisation, integration, spacecraft level detailed testing and a number of special tests to evaluate the system performance on earth.
Chandrayaan-3 is critical for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as it will demonstrate India's capabilities to make landings for further interplanetary missions.