The Rs 978-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission, India's first attempt to soft-land on the Moon has entered its last leg, with the countdown for the mission scheduled to start at 6.51am Sunday (July 14), after the full dress rehearsal (FDR) of the spacecraft and launch rehearsals scheduled in the days preceding that. "#GSLVMkIII carrying #Chandrayaan2 spacecraft, undergoing launch checks at launch pad in Sriharikota". The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs approximately 3290 kilograms and it would launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (or GSLV Mk) rocket.
The launch will take up an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, dubbed Pragyan, all created to study the moon's little explored south pole. In 2008, the space agency launched the Chandrayaan-1 mission, which included an orbiter and a small impact probe created to crash into the lunar surface (as a result, this does not qualify as a soft landing). If everything goes to plan and the lander successfully touches down on the lunar surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft-or controlled-landing on the moon, after the US, former Soviet Union and China. The Chandrayaan-II consists of three segments - the Orbiter, the lander Vikram and rover Pragyaan.
The Orbiter with eight scientific experiments will continue its mission for a duration of one year. Subsequently, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and soft land at the predetermined site close to the lunar South Pole.More news: California Allows Undocumented Young Adults Medicaid Access
Explaining the reasoning behind choosing to explore the south pole, the ISRO said on its website: 'The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. All previous lunar crafts have landed near the equator and this is the first time one will landed near the south pole.
The mission also has one passive experiment from the USA space agency NASA. Once safely down, the Vikram lander will release a small, six-wheeled rover named Pragyan. Chandrayaan-1 was in operation for 312 days.
According to the ISRO, the Chandrayaan-2 will be injected into an Earth parking 170x40400 km orbit. Rover Pragyan will be housed inside lander Vikram and will be deployed after Vikram lands on the lunar surface.More news: China says United States trade issues are 'definitely' resolvable
There are 12 payloads on board, with five on both the orbiter and lander and two on the rover. A set of complex movements will take place in the Lunar Transfer Trajectory for raising its orbit.
And Russia - the first country to land an unmanned moon rocket in 1966 - spent more than US$20 billion at today's values on lunar missions in the 1960s and 70s.More news: Millie Bobby Brown joins Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie in 'The Eternals'