On July 15th 2:15 am local time, India is launching an ISRO-developed GSLV Mk-III rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, situated approximately 80 km north of Chennai. For reference, the GSLV Mk-III rocket is about half as powerful as the Falcon 9 by SpaceX and will boost the payload into its “Earth parking orbit” before the module uses its own power to extend its orbit to prepare for the lunar landing ultimately.
The target of this mission is the, hopefully successful, attempt to land on the south pole of the Moon, which itself is scheduled for September 6th. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch three robots – a lander, a rover and an orbiter – which will observe not only the surface of the Moon but also its sky. The south pole is especially exciting to observe, as its mostly unexplored. Hopefully, they will give more insight into the existence of water/ice at the south pole of the Moon – very important primarily due to the current planning of setting up a permanent base on the Moon, and the eventually following colonization of the Moon.
Interestingly, the three robots have all a different “life span”. The lander will only operate for two weeks, which is equal to one single lunar day. The orbiter will circle around the north and south pole for a year, to study the Moon’s surface and exosphere, including the creation of a 3D map of its terrain. However, the Rover, Pragyan, will race around the surface of the planet in a whopping speed of 1 centimetre per second – which is fast for such a vehicle, and observe the molecules.
Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before — the Moon’s south polar region. Through this effort, the aim is to improve our understanding of the Moon — discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. These insights and experiences aim at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come — propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers.
Update on the launch
Due to technical concerns, the launch got scrubbed and will be scheduled for another launch soon. A new date is, as of right now, not yet publicised.
A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at 1 hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later.
— ISRO (@isro) 14. Juli 2019
Livestream of the Chandrayaan 2 launch
Currently, the launch is scheduled to take place at 2:25 am local time, which will be 10:30 pm in central Europe on July 14th, and in US-timezones at 2:51 pm PT or 5:51 pm ET.
You can watch the Livestream on YouTube on the official channel by PIB India, and right below here: