Chandrayaan-2: Space expert on why Vikram’s soft-landing is most complex in ISRO’s history

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Updated: September 4, 2019 2:45:15 PM

ISRO's Chandrayaan 2 Landing news: ISRO expert discusses all the critical aspected related to the powered descent and lunar touchdown phase of the Vikram lander.

Chandrayaan 2, ISRO's Chandrayaan 2Chandrayaan 2: It is going to be a much tougher job now says ISRO expert after 2nd de-orbiting maneuver. (Image: ISRO)

Chandrayaan 2 landing: The Chandrayaan-1 mission is among the best missions ever conducted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The head of Chandrayaan-1 mission and former Chairman of ISRO, G Madhavan Nair, explained the complexities related to the soft-landing procedure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission. The final powered descent and the lunar touchdown are the most crucial phases of the mission. This part of the mission is crucial because all the surface exploration payloads are onboard the Vikram and Pragyaan modules and if it fails, the quest to explore the south polar region of the Moon will end and the mystery of Moon’s pole having water will persist. Though the chances of failure of the mission are negligible and G Madhavan Nair is 100 per cent sure of its success.

G Madhavan Nair, in an interview with PTI, discussed all the critical aspects related to the powered-descent phase of the Vikram lander and the whole soft-landing process including the lunar touchdown. Nair, who spearheaded the Chandrayaan-1 mission almost a decade ago, termed the Vikram Lander and the Orbiter separation operation as a ‘great event’. The space expert said that now it is going to be a much tougher job.

The former ISRO chairman further stated that we are considerably close to soft-land on the lunar surface and everything is all good so far; all the mission-sequences have gone off really well, computation, as well as planning, have worked in the desired tune. “Now the lander is in an elliptical orbit around the Moon,” he said.

“The On-board cameras will now be mapping the terrain, sending pictures to us. Then we will have to identify and select the most appropriate location for the lunar landing. Not only that, but we will also have to monitor that the lander is in the exact location as it descends slowly to the surface”, G M Nair said.

READ | Chandrayaan 2: How and where ISRO’s Vikram module will land on Moon

The ISRO expert said that It is a highly complex operation. “I don’t think any other nation has done anything similar to this operation. Trying to have real-time pictures and then having an on-board computer autonomously implement the functions of the landing, is extraordinary. It is going to be a remarkable event in the history of space exploration and we are all looking forward to it,” Nair said.

Commenting on the soft landing process Nair said, “It is a process similar to flying saucers coming in and hovering on the top and then slowly descending. Just like the ones in science fiction.” He further stated that the soft landing process is almost similar to that sequence which ISRO is going to implement. “Though ISRO won’t have any real-time controls on the ground.”

While talking about the feasibility of the landing, he said, “I am certain that soft landing on the lunar surface will be a 100 per cent success.”

Earlier. ISRO said that it has successfully performed the two de-orbiting maneuver for the spacecraft till Wednesday, before the powered descent on September 7 for Vikram’s landing in the south polar region of the moon. The Vikram Lander along with the Pragyan Rover (housed inside) is expected to touch-down the surface of the Moon on September 7, between 0130 and 0230 hours IST.

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