India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, will launch in the early hours on July 15 at 2:51 am. The mission is very special because this will be the first interplanetary mission from India to be helmed by women. Not only that, 30 per cent of the members working on the Chandrayaan-2 mission are women, as mentioned by K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Both the Project Director and the Mission Director of India’s upcoming second moon mission Chandrayaan- 2 are women.
Muthayya Vanitha who will be the first woman project director of ISRO is an electronics system engineer and also an expert data cruncher and problem solving scientist. She was responsible for data handling systems for India's remote sensing satellites. For her immense contribution, she received the Best Woman Scientist Award in 2006 from the Astronomical Society of India.
Ritu Karidhal, the mission director of Chandrayaan-2 is fondly known as the ‘Rocket Woman of India’. She was the Deputy Operations Director for the Mars mission. She holds a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. She is responsible for the spacecraft's outward autonomy system. She is also a recipient of ISRO Young Scientist Award conferred by President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2007.
Notably, the two leading ISRO scientists, Vanitha and Ritu, are in their 40s, but their work experience with ISRO spans more than 20 years.
The 640-tonne rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) standing at about 44 metre tall, is nicknamed the 'Bahubali', as like the hero in the successful film lifts a heavy Lingam, the rocket will carry the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft.
About 16-minutes into its flight, the Rs 375 crore GSLV-Mk III rocket is expected to sling the Rs 603 crore Chandrayaan-2 into an Earth parking 170x40400 km orbit.
From there, it will be a long journey for the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft carrying lander-Vikram and rover-Pragyaan will travel further to the moon.
On September 6, the Lander Vikram is expected to make a soft landing on the moon and then Pragyaan will roll out to carry out in-situ experiments.