India will try to land on the moon again in August

India will try to land on the moon again in August

In 2019, the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan 2 mission crashed into the moon at the end of the landing process, although the accompanying orbiter is still working to study the moon from afar. Shortly after the impact, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced that it intended to quickly launch a subsequent mission to attempt landing again.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world, putting the brakes on all kinds of space missions and interfering with many of India's planned launches. Now, the agency is poised to put a new date on its return to the moon, aiming for an August launch, just over three years after its predecessor took off. "This time, we will be more cautious," Space Minister Jitendra Singh told the Times of India.

ISRO's caution has resulted in several design changes aimed at improving Chandrayaan's chances of success 3 compared to the crashed Vikram lander. For example, the new mission will not include an orbiter with scientific capabilities such as the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft still orbiting the moon, ISRO president S. Somanath told the Times of India in the same article. "Its task will be limited only to transporting the lander to the moon, supervising the landing from its orbit and communicating between the lander and the earth station," Somanath explained.

Credits: NASA

Additionally, the new lander will include only four engines; by the end of the design process, engineers had added a fifth engine to the Vikram lander, according to the Times of India. The second-generation lander will also rely on a slightly different design for the landing legs and will include an instrument that can more accurately measure the lander's speed as it approaches the lunar surface.

The Chandrayaan 3 mission will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center atop a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, according to SpaceNews. ISRO has not yet released details on the post-launch timeline; Chandrayaan 2 reached lunar orbit 30 days after launch and attempted to land 48 days after launch.

Chandrayaan 3 points to the same landing site in the south polar region of the moon that Vikram targeted in the 2019. If all goes well, India would become the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after the United States, Russia and China, although none of these countries have yet landed at the ice-rich South Pole.

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