Chandrayaan-2 launch today, all rehearsals completed

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) deferred second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 will happen today. The GSLV-Mk-III, carrying the 3,850 kg Chandrayan-2 would lift off from Second Launch Pad at 14.43 hours from SHAR Range, Sriharikota.

Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was originally scheduled for flight at 2.51 am on July 15. However, the flight was postponed after a technical snag was detected an hour prior to the rocket lift-off.

Isro later rectified the fault in its 44-metre Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III). Weighing about 640-tonne, the GSLV-Mk III rocket is nicknamed ‘Bahubali’ after the hero of a successful film of the same name.

A 20-hour countdown for the launch started 6.43 pm Sunday for the scheduled launch at 2.43 pm Monday. This time, scientists have very little flexibility in terms of time as the suitable slot during which the spacecraft can be launched lasts barely a few minutes.

PTI quoted ISRO chairman K Sivan as saying Sunday that Chandrayaan-1 had revealed the presence of water molecules on the Moon and that there were possibilities of the latest mission returning successful scientific experiments.

The unmanned mission will consist of a Pragyan Rover – a 6-wheeled AI-powered that translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit. It can travel up to 500m and leverages solar energy for its functioning. It can only communicate with the Lander.

ISRO will live stream the event on its Twitter and Facebook page. Doordashan will also stream the event live on its YouTube channel.

“Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on Monday afternoon. All the preparatory works regarding the launch have been completed. Technical snags that developed in the first attempt have been rectified,” Sivan told reporters.

He said Sunday: “The 20-hour countdown will begin at 6.43 pm today. It will be launched at 2.43 pm tomorrow. All arrangements are going well.”