Chandrayaan 2: Here’s everything about ISRO Moon-landing its Vikram lander

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Updated: September 07, 2019 12:48 AM

ISRO Moon Landing: Experts believe that soft-landing operation is the most critical, complex and challenging phase of the whole chandrayaan 2 mission.

Chandrayaan 2, ISRO's Chandrayaan 2In order to land the Vikram lander module at the predefined location very high precision and accuracy are required. (Image: ISRO)

Chandrayaan 2 Moon landing: The former chairman and the face behind the success of the Chandryaan-1 mission, G Madhavan Nair elaborated the complex soft landing process of the Vikram lander. The lander, which underwent its second de-orbiting maneuver on Wednesday, September 4, is set to soft-land on the lunar surface in the early hours of September 7. Experts believe that ISRO’s Moon-landing operation is the most critical, complex and challenging phase of the whole chandrayaan 2 mission. The procedure of soft landing which will start at around 0140 hours IST on September 7 will go on for 15-long minutes during a powered descent phase and finally touch-down the lunar surface at around 0155 hours IST on the same day. The whole Moon-landing process will be comprised of a series of critical and crucial maneuvers. These maneuvers will include a series of rough braking and fine braking. Notably, the weight of the Vikram Lander is 1,471 kg. In order to land the Vikram lander module at the predefined location very high precision and accuracy are required. Even a minute mistake can lead to the failure of the lunar surface exploration part of the mission. Though experts believe that there are negligible chances of failure as most of the system are automated and computerised.

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While talking to PTI, G Madhavan Nair elaborated on the soft landing process. The former chairman of ISRO said that after the completion of de-orbiting maneuvers, thing are going to be tougher for ISRO now. The Moon-landing process is a very complex procedure. It is extraordinary when you are trying to have real-time pictures and then have an on-board computer autonomously implement the functions of the landing on a celestial body. This is something no other nation would have done before.

Indian space expert, G M Nair, while giving an elaborated description of the 15-minute soft landing process stated, “The on-board cameras of Vikram lander would look for the right location. Once the location identified based on the predefined parameters, the five rocket engines of the lander will precisely control the lander. The five rockets will first reduce the speed and then make the lander virtually float at the predefined landing point. The Vikram lander might also have some lateral movement slowly guiding it in such a way that it goes just to the identified landing site.”

READ | Chandrayaan 2: Vikram Lander just 35 km away from Moon’s surface, landing scheduled for Sept 7

“The Cameras, laser ranging systems, onboard computers and, above all, software required for the entire operation has to work in unison,” Nair added.

The former ISRO chairman further said, “So complexities are really going to be ‘biggest complexity ever’ that we have faced during a mission. The nature of it is going to be demonstrated in this procedure of soft landing.”

The former Secretary in the Department of Space and ex-Space Commission Chairman also said, “If things go as planned and ISRO succeeds in soft-landing on the Moon, it will give a big boost to India’s image in the international arena and show to the world how a so-called developing nation has perfected and is excelling in space technologies developed indigenously.” G M Nair also stated that the success of Chandrayaan 2 mission will also drive home the message that Indian talent is second to none.

ISRO will be the first space agency in the world to land in the south polar region of the Moon and explore the totally uncharted region in search of water.

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