India is set to create history by joining the league of moon landers with is ambitious Chandrayaan II project. This is India’s second lunar exploration mission after the famous Chandrayaan-1 launched in October 2008.
Considered as the most ambitious moon exploration project by the Government of India till date, the mission has been developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2018.
It will be launched using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk II) which includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all made in India.
India will be the first country in the last four years to attempt the mission. The last successfully landing on the moon by any country was in 2013, when China’s unmanned ‘Yutu’ rover was launched for a month-long walk.
With successful completion of Chandrayaan 1 mission, India became only the fourth country to plant its flag on the moon after the US, USSR and Japan. Chandrayaan 2 will be an advanced version of Chandrayaan 1.
Like Chandrayaan 1 mission, Chandrayaan 2 will also be an example of ISRO’s “frugal engineering”. Chandrayaan 1 mission cost India just about $80 million while a similar SELENE mission undertaken by Japan cost it $480 million. Chandrayaan 2 is likely to cost a meagre $91 million.
Chandrayaan 1, launched on 22 Oct 2008, faced numerous technical difficulties and ISRO lost contact with the craft on August 29, 2009 well before the intended mission length of two years.
However, the craft had fulfilled almost 80% of its designated tasks before it lost contact with ISRO.