Credit: ISRO


The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is readying the launch of its Chandrayaan-2 Moon orbiter, lander and rover, scheduled to be launched between July 9 and 16 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Note: Liftoff is now scheduled for July 14, 2019 at 21:21 UTC – July 15, 2019 at 02:51 IST local time.

Vikram lunar lander
Credit: ISRO

Chandrayaan-2 is comprised of an orbiter, a lander called Vikram, and a rover tagged as Pragyan. A touchdown is slated on September 6 in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N.


The Moon’s south pole region is particularly interesting due to the lunar surface area that remains in shadow and the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas in that locale. Lunar cold traps contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.

India’s booster, the GSLV Mk-III, will carry Chandrayaan-2 to its designated orbit.

Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III).
Credit: ISRO

This three-stage launcher is India’s most powerful launcher to date, and is capable of lofting 4-ton class of satellites to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Integrated module

Chandrayaan-2 will be an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission to Moon that flew successfully on October 22, 2008 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota launch site.





As India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 is comprised of three modules, an orbiter, the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover.

India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission is comprised of an orbiter, a lander called Vikram, and a rover tagged as Pragyan.

The orbiter and lander modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. The Pragyan rover is housed inside the lander.

After launch into Earth bound orbit by the GSLV MK-III, the integrated module will reach Moon orbit using an orbiter propulsion module. Subsequently, the lander will separate from the orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site close to the lunar south pole.



Mission life

The Chandrayaan 2 orbiter will be capable of communicating with Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu as well as the Vikram Lander. The mission life of the orbiter is one year and it will be placed in a 62 mile by 62 mile (100 x 100 kilometer) lunar polar orbit.

Credit: ISRO

The lander is named Vikram after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program. It is designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days.

Chandrayaan 2’s rover is a 6-wheeled robotic vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to “wisdom” in Sanskrit. It can travel up to 1,640 feet (500 meters or one-half kilometer), leverages solar energy for its functioning and can only communicate with the lander.

Credit: ISRO


Once deployed, the Pragyan rover will carry out scientific experiments on the lunar surface. Instruments are also mounted on the lander and orbiter for performing science tasks.

There are 13 Indian payloads (8 on the orbiter, three on the lander and two on the rover, along with one passive experiment from NASA – a Laser Retro-reflector Array (LRA) for Lunar Landers.

This LRA is the same design as the one carried onboard Israel’s Beresheet lander that crashed on the Moon last month.

NASA’s retro-reflector is a mirrored device that reflects laser light signals to help pinpoint precisely where a lander is as well as accurately calculate the Moon’s distance from Earth.

A complete list of all payloads on the Chandrayaan 2 mission is available here:

Credit: Jatan Mehta/Moon Monday

India’s Pragyan rover mounted on the ramp projecting from out of the sides of Vikram lunar lander.
Credit: ISRO


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