With less than two months left to go for the ISRO Chandrayaan 2 launch, the Indian Space Research Organization is revealing insights of the lunar mission on a regular basis. According to the latest update issued on the official website of ISRO, payloads on the lunar mission will not be all Indian, as it was expected initially.
The Indian space agency revealed on Wednesday that there will be a total of 14 payloads, of which 8 will be on the orbiter, 3 on the lander, and 2 on the rover. All these 13 payloads will be Indian, while one will be a passive experiment from NASA.
“Thirteen Indian payloads (8 on the orbiter, 3 on lander and 2 on rover) and one passive experiment from NASA,” ISRO said in a mission update but did not specify them or their objective.
The spacecraft, Chandrayaan 2 with a mass of 3.8 tonnes has three modules- Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan). All these modules are getting ready for Chandrayaan 2 launch which is scheduled to launch between 9 and 16 July 2019. And the Moon landing is expected on September 6, the space agency had said earlier this month.
The 13 Indian payloads will be supplied by Indian Institutes like Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (LASS) from ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) and Solar X-ray monitor (XSM) from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL). Some others are also involved such as Space Applications Centre (SAC), synthetic aperture radar in L- and S-band (SAR) neutral mass spectrometer (CHACE-2), terrain mapping camera-2 (TMC-2), radio anatomy of moon-bound hypersensitive ionosphere and atmosphere (RAMBHA), Chandra’s surface thermo physical experiment (ChaSTE), Institute for lunar seismic activity (ILSA), laser reflector array (LPA), rover sensor complement(APXS, LIBS) and laser-induced breakdown spectroscope (LIBS).
Last time, Chandrayaan-1 mission, launched in 2008, carried 5 foreign payloads (three from Europe and two from the US).
It is not officially announced by the space agency about what the payload from NASA will be. But, as per some media reports, it was earlier mentioned that ISRO Chandrayaan 2 mission will carry laser reflector arrays from NASA. This will allow scientists to take measurements of the distance to the moon. The instrument, which has been attached to the lander, will be able to precisely mention the location of the lander on the surface of the moon.
Apart from the passive experiment from NASA, the Rover Pragyan, which has three subsystems developed by IIT Kanpur to provide it mobility. It will be carrying out scientific experiments on the lunar surface. If successful, ISRO Chandrayaan 2 will be the first mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole. India will be the fourth country to achieve this after the US, USSR, and China.