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India successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 orbiter mission and lunar surface spacecraft on Monday.
Spacenews.com mentions “a GSLV Mk 3 Launch vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota off the coast of the Bay of Bengal at 5:13 a.m. Eastern, with the event webcast live by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)”.
The Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter is going to study the moon about a year, discovering for water ice in the shadowed regions of the lunar south pole. The solar-powered Vikram lander and Pragyan rover will spend about one lunar day (the equivalent of 14 Earth days) studying the moon’s surface up close.
The successful mission would make India the fourth country to achieve a lunar landing after the U.S., the former Soviet Union and China.
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s 2-nd lunar mission following Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. In 2007 it is approved with the original plan for Russia to construct the mission lander, delays and technical issues saw Russia step away from the project. ISRO then made the decision for Chandrayaan-2 to be an entirely Indian effort.
India is, “re-branding the mission within the space resources discourse that has animated space policy, both within the U.S. and China, by its plan to land very close to the lunar south pole,” Goswami says.
A success for Chandrayaan-2, “will inspire the NewSpace industry that has come up in India, and will galvanize a greater cooperation between state funded space organization and new space startups.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced March 26 the goal of a crewed lunar landing in 2024, accelerating the crewed lunar spaceflight program authorized by Space Policy Directive 1 December 2017, which called for a return to the moon by 2028.
Source: Text; space.com
Image credit; space.com