India is looking to take a giant technological leap with a second unmanned mission to the moon, destined to land a rover near the unexplored south pole.
The takeoff of Chandrayaan-2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India is programmed at 2.51 am local time Monday (2121 GMT, Sunday).
A successful launch will be the first of several steps to bite your planned nails in advance, which, if successful, will put India in a select group of nations navigating through space.
Chandrayaan-2 is a multi-stage lunar mission through which the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to place a spacecraft in lunar orbit 22 days after launch.
Almost a month after that, on September 6 or 7, a landing craft carrying a rover must separate from the orbiter and attempt a controlled descent to land on the surface at the south pole.
ISRO is trying what is called a "soft landing", a feat achieved only by the former Soviet Union, the United States and China so far.
With India ready to become the fifth largest economy in the world, its spatial ambitions are also commercial.
"It will foster a new era of discovery, increase our understanding of space, promote more global alliances, stimulate the advancement of technology and increase business opportunities in India and inspire future generations," said ISRO President Kailasavadivoo Sivan.
What role does the association of industry play in the progress of space research? Listen to the message of the ISRO president, K Sivan, to find out! https://t.co/5SxaKb5PLw # Chandrayaan2 #GSLVMkIII #ISRO pic.twitter.com/X1mugKM3Vn
– ISRO (@isro) July 14, 2019
Economy class price
In addition to the technological feat, India's space program also seeks to demonstrate that it can compete in terms of cost.
The $ 141 million price of Chandrayaan-2's economy class covers the rocket, the orbiter, the landing vehicle, the rover and the scientific cargo: $ 9 million less than SpaceX charges for its Falcon Heavy launch services. they simply pick up and deposit the payload in low Earth orbit.
During his speech on the budget in parliament on July 5, weeks after his oath, the Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced the creation of a new public sector company: New Space India Ltd.
He made it clear that ISRO's ambitions to reach the Moon and beyond are integrated into the government's plan to create a national economy of $ 5 billion by 2025.
"New Space India Limited has been incorporated as a new commercial arm of the Department of Space to take advantage of the benefits of research and development carried out by ISRO, which will lead the commercialization of various space products, including the production of launch, technology transfer and commercialization of space products, "he said.
While India's space industry generates $ 7 billion in revenue, Morgan Stanley's estimates say that global space revenues currently set at $ 350 billion will increase to $ 1.1 billion by 2040.
ISRO President Sivan said that 500 universities and 120 companies from India participated in the development and management of various scientific and engineering programs so that Chandrayaan-2 is ready for launch.
"The private sector shared 80 percent of the spending and 60 percent of the module's work," he said. "This mission is not just the ISRO project, the country's scientific community and the private sector were also involved."
The launch of the lunar mission follows the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, which placed a spacecraft in orbit around the moon and then launched a lunar impactor.
ISRO deliberately sent the 35-kg lunar impact probe with the specific intention of crashing it against the surface of the moon to analyze the particles displaced by the impact.
That's when ISRO, with the help of NASA's Lunar Mining Mapper aboard the orbiter, discovered water molecules on the moon.
If the Vikram lander of Chandrayaan-2 (named after Vikram Sarabhai, founder of India's space program) lands safely, it will lower a ramp and release its main payload, the Pragyan mobile vehicle.
In Sanskrit, Pragyan means "wisdom", while Chandrayaan translates as "a lunar vehicle". The Vikram landing module will also carry three scientific instruments to study the seismic activity, the ability of the surface to absorb and retain the heat and ionosphere of the moon.
The instrumentation of the Pragyan rover will study the elements that make up the lunar surface, mainly the building blocks for water.
Once at the south pole of the moon, the landing and the rover will be driven by the sun, which means that the life of your mission will last a lunar day. That means almost 15 Earth days of science and data collection before the sun sets on the moon.
The orbiter has been equipped with a variety of technologies to collect data on the composition of the moon's surface and atmosphere. It will also map the terrain to probe where the water is in the form of ice.