India’s unmanned moon mission is all set to create history when the module Vikram makes its landing on 7th September 2019. The module separated from Chandrayaan-2 at 1:15 pm on Monday, the 2ndof September. The mission’s name is the Sanskrit term for “moon craft” and, is the second of its series after a successful launch in 2008, confirming the presence of water. Before separation, Vikram spent over six weeks in space and, now is in an orbit of 119×127 km.
ISRO reported that everything was smooth as Chadrayaan-2 continues its journey navigating the existing orbit.
Vikram is heading for a soft landing on the south pole with the help of the six-wheeled rover, Pragyan weighing 27 kgs. Vikram weighs approximately 1,471 kgs and will undergo a quick test from scientists to ensure everything is normal. The module is expected to orbit the moon at a lower altitude following a de-orbit session. An exact inclination of 90 degrees is required by Vikram to successfully execute a soft landing.
ISRO also needs to ensure no variations in landing and avoid any inclined areas to prevent the module from toppling. Another challenge for ISRO is to ensure the module achieves an orbit of 36×110 km in the final stages.
The $140 million mission will have to face several technical complexities before achieving its purpose. If Vikram successfully pulls off the landing, it will be a memorable event for ISRO and the nation. India will also be only the fourth nation after the U.S., Russia and China to do so.
The historic landing will take place somewhere between 1:30 am and 2:30 am on the 7th of September. Alternatively, the lander will also screen the lunar surface and compare the images with those images ISRO has provided. The module will communicate with Indian Deep Space Network set in Byalalu Village located in Bangalore South District off the Bangalore-Mysore highway. It will hold simultaneous communications with the orbiter Chandrayaan-2 and the rover. The orbiter will act as the primary mediator for all communication activities between Vikram and planet Earth.
No stone is left unturned to ensure the strengthening of the sensor characterization of Vikram to make it self-governing to reduce and prevent the dire consequences of human error. Going as per the plan, the spacecraft is estimated to land near the south pole on 7th September. However, it’s a matter of time for rover Pragyan to roll out from Vikram.
The much-anticipated take-off of Chandrayaan-2 took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, popularly known as Sriharikota Range, operated by ISRO. It’s a special occasion for the nation, with a substantial amount of risk involved. Interestingly, its India’s first attempt, only the fourth nation in the world,for a soft landing on the moon.Israel’s attempt for a soft landing on the moon earlier this year in April was unsuccessful.
The following four days to the significant touchdown of module Vikram will be observed with bathed breath. It will be a moment of pride for ISRO and a giant step in the space domain worldwide.