BENGALURU, INDIA — Next year,Russian space agency Roscomos plans to test the lander that will be part of India’s second Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2,Roscosmos Deputy Head Anatoly Shilov says.
Scheduled to be lofted in 2013, Chandrayaan-2 will have an orbiter, a lander and a rover. It is slated to fly on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle from Satish
Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island.
While the lander will be provided by Russia, the orbiter and the rover are being built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The rover will move on wheels on the lunar surface, pick up samples of soil or rocks, perform a chemical analysis and send the data to the spacecraft orbiting above.
The rover will weigh 30-100 kg. (70-220 lb.), depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. During its planned one month of surface operations, it will run predominantly on solar power.
Initially two lunar rovers were planned — one from India and a larger one from Russia — but following a cost analysis, the Russians gave up on the rover.
“The tasks of the mission are to investigate rock samples at the maximum distance from the landing point and to confirm the presence of water,” Shilov said at the recent Bengaluru Space Expo. “Today we are talking about moving from research to ... lunar development,” he says.
Meanwhile, the payloads to be flown on Chandrayaan-2 have been finalized by a committee of experts from ISRO centers, academic institutions and R&D laboratories, according to a press statement.
The five recommended payloads are:
• Large-Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer from the ISRO Satellite Center (SAC) in Bengaluru, and Solar X-ray Monitor from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad,for mapping major elements on the lunar surface.
• L- and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) from SAC for probing the first few tens of meters of the lunar surface for the presence of different constituents, including water ice. SAR is expected to provide further evidence confirming the presence of water ice in shadowed lunar regions.
• Imaging IR Spectrometer from SAC for mapping of the lunar surface over a wide wavelength range for the study of minerals, water molecules and hydroxyls.
• Neutral Mass Spectrometer from the Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, for study of the lunar exosphere.
• Terrain Mapping Camera-2 from SAC for preparing a three-dimensional map essential for studying lunar mineralogy and geology.
The committee also recommends two scientific payloads on the rover. “Inclusion of additional payloads, if possible within the mission constraints, will be considered
at a later date following a detailed review,” ISRO says.
Both instruments are expected to carry out elemental analysis of the lunar surface near the landing site:
• Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope from the
Laboratory for Electro-Optic Systems in Bengaluru.
• Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope from PRL,
The total Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will weigh about 2,650 kg. at liftoff, with the orbiter comprising 1,400 kg. and the lander about 1,250 kg. Development of the subsystems of the orbiter and the rover is underway at ISRO centers in Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad,ISRO says.
- Neelam Mathews