Chandrayaan 2 is Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar exploration mission. It is the advanced version and continuation of the successful Chandrayaan-1 mission launched in 2008.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission is designed to demonstrate ISRO’s capabilities in soft landing and deploying a rover on the moon’s surface to conduct in-situ experiments and tests.

It will study the lunar topography, geology, conditions of the lunar exosphere, presence of hydroxyl elements, and forms of water on the moon’s surface.

The mission will consist of an orbiter, a soft lander, and a rover. The orbiter will orbit the moon, whereas the lander carrying the rover will reach the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan-2 was to be launched on 15 July 2019, but postponed to 22 July as a technical issue was identified in the launch vehicle system, GSLV Mk-III. ISRO successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, on 22 July 2019.

Chandrayaan-2 mission details

The Chandrayaan-2 mission is the next advancement in Indian lunar exploration following the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which was launched on board PSLV launch vehicle carrying a lunar orbiter fitted with 11 instruments, which comprises five that are Indian, three European, two American, and one Bulgarian.

The mission life of Chandrayaan-1 ended in August 2009 after successfully meeting its objectives. The mission’s major accomplishment was the detection of water molecules near the poles of the moon.

Chandrayaan-2 was originally scheduled at the beginning of the decade but was delayed due to the exit of Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), which was to provide a rover for the mission. It sought for a programmatic re-alignment in 2013.

With a total weight of 3,850kg, the spacecraft will carry 13 Indian payloads along with a passive experiment.

Chandrayaan-2 space mission launch details

Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched on board geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) Mark III from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota.

“The payload for Chandrayaan-2 mission includes three modules, an orbiter, a lander named Vikram, and a rover named Pragyan.”

The integrated module will be initially placed in the geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), from where the payload will reach the moon’s orbit with the help of the orbiter propulsion module.

The GSLV Mark III launch vehicle is a three-stage heavy-lift rocket with two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster, and a cryogenic upper stage. The vehicle will carry a 4t class of payload to the GTO.

GSLV Mark III is 43.43m tall and has a diameter of 4m and a lift-off mass of 640t. Its cryogenic upper stage, designated C25, is powered by cryogenic engine (CE)-20, which operates on gas generator cycle using LOX/LH2 propellants.

Chandrayaan-2 mission cost

The total cost of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is estimated to be Rs800cr ($121.87m), which comprises Rs200cr ($30.46m) that will be spent on the launch and Rs600cr ($91.38m) on the satellite.

Chandrayaan-2 mission payload details

The payload for Chandrayaan-2 mission includes three modules, an orbiter, a lander named Vikram, and a rover named Pragyan.

The 3,200kg orbiter carrying five instruments will be placed in the lunar polar orbit 100km above the moon’s surface.

The Chandrayaan-2 large area soft X-ray monitor (CLASS) and solar X-ray monitor (XSM) instruments are used for mapping the elements available on the moon’s surface, while the second instrument, which is an L and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), is used for identifying the constituents of lunar surface such as water ice.

An imaging IR spectrometer (IIRS) instrument is used for mapping the lunar surface over a wide wavelength to study the presence of water, hydroxyl, and other minerals.

A Neutral Mass Spectrometer (ChACE-2) is fitted to perform a detailed study of the moon’s exosphere. Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) will be used to prepare a three-dimensional map for studying the lunar mineralogy and geology.

Details of Vikram, the Chandrayaan-2 lander

Vikram will carry a seismometer, radio anatomy of moon-bound hypersensitive ionosphere and atmosphere (RAMBHA), a Langmuir probe, lunar electrostatic and dust levitation experiment (LESDLE) probe, and Chandra’s Surface Thermal Experiment (ChaSTE).

Vikram will land on the lunar surface using a four-leg landing unit.

Pragyan, India’s lunar exploration rover

The Pragyan rover is a six-wheeled vehicle, which will carry a laser-induced breakdown spectroscope (LIBS) and an alpha particle induced X-ray spectroscope (APIXS) to perform an elemental analysis of the surface.