India announces new date for lunar lander mission following ‘technical snag’

GSLV MkIII-M1 / Chandryaan 2 vehicle night view at the Second Launch Pad © ISRO / Free

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced the new launch date for its Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon, which was forced to abort just 56 minutes before liftoff on Monday.

The new scheduled launch is set to take place at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) on July 22. Monday’s launch was postponed due to a last-minute “technical snag” which was spotted shortly before the spacecraft was set to take off, but the issue now appears to be resolved.

Chandrayaan 2 mission video

Shortly after its new launch, the craft will assume a 170 x 40,400km orbit around Earth before conducting a series of maneuvers to put the Chandrayaan-2 craft on a Lunar Transfer Trajectory.

© ISRO / Free

Once the spacecraft enters the Moon’s area of gravitational effect, thrusters will slow it down so it can establish a 100 x 100km orbit around Earth’s satellite.

Then, on landing day, the lander will separate from the orbiter and perform a series of complex maneuvers and imaging scans before, all going well, safely touching down and making India the fourth nation to safely conduct a soft landing on the Moon after the US, the former Soviet Union, and China.

In 2008, India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission did not land on the Moon, but carried out extensive searches for water on the lunar surface from orbit. 

The latest rover will head out from the landing site near the lunar south pole and conduct experiments on the surface for a period of one lunar day, which is the equivalent of 14 Earth days. The orbiter’s entire mission is expected to last one year.

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