The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started conducting tests for its ambitious Chandrayaan-2 mission. The tests are being conducted at the organisation’s facility in Challakere in Karnataka, where simulated lunar craters have been created for landing mission, ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said on Friday.
According to Kumar, several craters, resembling the terrain of the Moon, have been created on the ground at the facility to test instruments and sensors on the lander of Chandrayaan-2.
Kiran Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of a function held at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad, “We are doing some tests with regard to the Moon landing mission of Chandrayaan-2. For that, an aircraft carrying some of the instruments is being flown over this simulated area at our facility in Challakere.”
“A number of craters, similar to the topography of the Moon, have been developed on the ground at the facility of Challakere, Karnataka to trial the implements and sensors on the Lander of Chandrayaan-2. As of now, some of the crucial tests on the Probe have kicked started and is moving ahead,” he added.
“These tests are part of our ‘hazard avoidance and landing’ exercise. The lander is supposed to come down and land (on the Moon). We have to make sure that it lands at a place which does not have too much of slope. Otherwise, one of the legs of the lander would get stuck in a crater,” Kumar said.
As per ISRO website, Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. Chandrayaan-1 was first lunar probe of India operated by India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was launched in October 2008. This ground-breaking mission gave a significant boost up to Indian space programs, and now, ISRO is gearing up to dispatch the second season of its Moon exploration program by launching ‘Chandrayaan-2.
Chandrayaan-2 consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration. The orbiter with scientific payloads will orbit around the Moon. The lander will make a soft-land on the Moon at a specified site and deploy the rover. The scientific payloads onboard the orbiter, lander and rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface.
“There will be instruments on the lander. To make sure that these instruments work when it lands on the Moon, we are doing some simulations and that is one of the activities going on at Challakere” said Kumar who also serves as the Secretary in the Department of Space and Chairman of Space Commission.
“Tests are also going on to check the engines which provide required thrust to the lander in order to bring down it’s velocity to compensate the lunar gravity during the landing,” Kumar added.
The tests are re-enactments of moon arrivals to facilitate the perfect conditions on the moon. While addressing the matter, ISRO’s official said, these tests of Chandrayaan-2 are standard trials before formally commencing the lunar exploration mission.
In the recent past, Kumar had indicated that Chandrayaan-2 would be launched tentatively between 2017 and 2018. He was here to attend a function for giving away ‘Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Research Awards-2015’ and ‘PRL Award-2015’.
India has always maintained a pioneer position in global space research segment and has conducted a number of explorations of space and the planetary system.
India’s second mission to Moon – Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to start by the end of 2018. The initial dispatch of Chandrayaan-II was planned much before, but the failure of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to supply the Lander to India had delayed the venture. Initially, Chandrayaan-II was to be a joint mission of India and Russia but later came to be India’s autonomous program.