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India is going to launch its first moon lander on July 22 at 5:13 a.m. EDT (Monday). The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-2 moon mission will launch from the agency’s Satish Dhawan Space Center on the island of Sriharikota about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Chennai.
The local time at liftoff will be 2:43 p.m. IST.
At first, they decided to launch the Chandrayaan-2 moon mission Sunday (July 14) using its powerful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III-M1 rocket, but they called off the attempt due to a “technical snag” an hour before liftoff.
[The glitch was reportedly related to a helium pressurization system on the rocket’s cryogenic stage, according to Spaceflight Now], explains www.space.com.
“The expert committee identified the root cause of the technical snag and all corrective actions are implemented,” ISRO officials said in a status update. “Thereafter, the system performance is normal.”
According to its flight plan, Chandrayaan-2 will slowly make its way to the moon over several weeks, then release the Vikram lander to touch down near the south pole of the moon on Sept. 6. The Pragyan rover, tucked aboard Vikram, will then deploy and begin exploring the lunar south pole.
The Chandrayaan-2 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.
Image credit; Space.com
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