ISRO to go back to the moon with Chandrayaan-3
It could be launched late this year, or in early 2021
Chandrayaan-3 will accomplish what Chandrayaan-2 couldn’t
Shining a bright ray of hope on Indian space fans, ISRO Chairman K Sivan announced on New Year’s Day that the Indian space agency is currently working on a number of new projects, including Chandrayaan-3 and Gaganyaan. According to him, the successor to the partially successful Chandrayaan-2 has already received a green light from the government and will take off for the moon either towards the end of the year or in early 2021. Gaganyaan, on the other hand, will take as many as four Indian astronauts to the moon sometime in 2022.
According to a news report filed by The Times of India, the estimated cost of India’s third uncrewed lunar mission stands at Rs 615 crore. “Chandrayaan-3 will have a lander, rover and a propulsion module given that the Chandrayaan-2 oribiter is fully functional. The government has approved the project and we have formed the project team,” said Sivan in a statement to The Times. Chandrayaan-3’s mission parameters will be carried over from its predecessor. It will go where its predecessor failed to, which means we can expect the lander to make it to the lunar surface this time around. You can read more about that here.
Sivan added that Gaganyaan, which is India’s first crewed lunar mission, is also in its initial stages. According to a report filed by The Hindu, the space agency has identified four pilots from the Indian Air Force as astronauts for the Rs 10,000-crore mission. While these pilots will be sent to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Centre in Moscow for training in the third week of this month, the Gaganyaan flight mission is scheduled for 2022. Sivan confirms that the activities for this mission are going according to the original timeline.
Sivan is confident that ISRO can undertake as many as 25 space missions in 2020, including Chandrayaan-3. In a press note, ISRO states that its other projects include the commissioning of a new launch port in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. It will be used exclusively with the space agency’s upcoming SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle). The SSLV can carry a payload of 500 kilogrammes to Low Earth Orbit, which makes it ideal for launching small satellites. It is expected to fly for the first time in the next few months. ISRO says it’s also going to make efforts to teach school children basic space science as part of its special school programme called YUVIKA (Yuva VIgyani KAryakram).