Spacecraft integrated with GSLV-Mark III-M1

With 10 days left for the launch of India’s second mission to the moon, dubbed Chandrayaan-2, engineers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) have completed the integration of the encapsulated assembly of Chandrayaan-2 with the launch vehicle at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The vehicle will be moved to the launch pad in the next three days when various tests will be carried out before the actual launch at 2.51 am on July 15.

Engineers have also completed the equipment bay camera cowling assembly and radiofrequency checks of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft. Unlike Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft-land its Vik-ram module on the lunar surface and deploy a six-wheeled Rover called Pr-agyan on the moon to carry out several scientific experiments. The lift-off mass of Chandrayaan-1 was 1,380 kg while Chandrayaan-2 weighs 3,850 kg. The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and studying the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the moon.

The lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments. A passive experiment fr-om Nasa will also be carried onboard Chandrayaan-2. The rover carries two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface. The mission life of the orbiter is one year whereas the mission life of the lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) will be one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.

According to Isro scientists, Chandrayaan-2 will be aided in achieving its mission by some of India’s most advanced engineering technology. Its integrated module, which comprises technology and software developed across the country, includes Isro’s most powerful launch vehicle and a wholly indigenous rover.

Isro has opened online registration for witnessing the forthcoming GSLV Mk III-M1/Chandrayaan-2 mission. Those interested in watching the prestigious launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre Shar can register their details on the website Sources in SDSC Shar said more than 4,800 people have registered to witness the launch from the newly built gallery at Sriharikota, within 24 hours of the registration being opened at 00.00 hours on July 4.

However, some glitches in the software occurred soon after, putting a temporary end to the registration. SDSC officials say it will be restored shortly but only 10,000 registrations will be allowed.

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