India moon rover mission launches with hopes to study south pole

Indian Space Research Organization shows its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII-M1 at its launch pad in Sriharikota an island off India's south-eastern coast. India’s space agency says

India moon rover mission launches with hopes to study south pole

India's first lunar mission, more than a decade ago with Chandrayaan1, did not land on the moon but conducted a search for water using radar.

Weighing about 3,850 kg, Chandrayaan 2 is a spacecraft comprising of an orbiter, lander and rover, which will explore unchartered lunar south pole.

The boosters separated safely as the craft began its almost 50-day journey, after which the lander will attempt a controlled landing to deploy a rover at the moon's south pole.

It was India's strength and ISRO's might that was on ample display as the Chandrayaan 2 was successfully launched at 2.43 PM on Monday afternoon. "The insights and experiences aim at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come - propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers", said India's space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO.

The lunar landing, set for September 6-7, would make India the fourth nation to set a probe safely down on the moon's surface, after Russian Federation, the United States and China.

Chandrayaan-2 will be launched at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) on Monday, space agency Isro said. It will work for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days, studying rocks and soil on the Moon's surface.

Maintaining communication between the lander, rover and orbiter will also be a challenge. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the aircraft from a spaceport at Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Sreejith, who had been disappointed by the aborted launch, spoke excitedly about the possible discoveries of the new mission.

The Chandrayaan-2 lander is named Vikram, after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program. The Vehicle as well as Chandrayaan-2 are fully designed and fabricated in India.

State-owned SAIL July 22 said it supplied special-quality stainless steel from its Salem Steel Plant for the country's moon mission Chandrayaan-2.

The Vikram is expected to soft-land from a height of 100 km from the Moon's surface near its South Pole - where, according to ISRO, no one has gone before - and carry out three scientific experiments. Otherwise, the lander could crash into the lunar surface.

Informing members about the launch, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said the country has shown its space prowess with the mission.

"My dear friends, today is a historic day for space, science and technology in India", Sivan said. The first mission, Chandrayaan-1, was launched in October 2008.

India put a satellite into orbit around Mars in the nation's first interplanetary mission in 2013 and 2014.

Modi's nationalist government has in particular been active in advancing India's space policy and projecting India as a space power.

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