Chandrayaan-2 launched: India to become the 4th country in the world to land on the moon

ISRO's Chandrayaan 2. (image: @ISRO on Twitter)

India has successfully launched its second mission to the moon, the Chandrayaan-2. The GSLV-MkIII, carrying the Chandrayaan-2, was launched at 2:43 PM from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. This will make India the fourth country in the world to land on the moon.

On 18th July 2019, an hour before the historic Chandrayaan 2 launch, a technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system. Following that, as a measure of ‘abundant precaution,’ the launch was called off. The launch date was then set to be 22nd July 2019. Earlier, the ISRO chief had confidently said that today’s launch would be successful.

The Chandrayaan-2 comprises of three parts namely: the Orbiter, the Lander (Vikram) and the Rover (Pragyan). The Rover is housed within the Lander. The Orbiter and the Lander are an integrated module weighing about 3.8 tonnes. This module was launched using a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK III) designed to launch satellites into geostationary orbit.

Once launched the integrated module would propel towards the moon after which the Lander will detach and land on the South Pole on 6th September as per schedule. The Rover would then conduct experiments on the lunar surface.

Indian Chandrayaan-2 is cheaper than several Hollywood movies like Avengers Infinity War and even the Bandra Worli Sea Link. The mission is touted to be accomplished within a budget of Rs 960 crores, which is approximately $143 million, significantly cheaper than the budget of several Hollywood movies.

The United States has so far invested about $100 billion (in current prices) in 15 Apollo missions to the Moon. China’s first expedition to Moon in 2007 cost about $180 million. In fact, the Chandrayaan-2 mission is cheaper than even the construction of Bandra Worli Sea link which took about $340 million.

The launch of Chandrayaan-2, however, was not untouched by controversies. Former ISRO chairman had startlingly revealed that the then UPA government had delayed Chandrayaan 2. Several people also made a brouhaha over the current ISRO chief ‘praying’ before the launch of the mission and called it ‘unscientific’.

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