Chandrayaan-3, India’s third mission to Moon, is likely to be launched in 2022, ISRO chief K Sivan has said. The COVID-19 lockdown has hit several projects of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) including Chandrayaan-3, which was scheduled to be launched in late 2020, and Gaganyaan, the country’s first manned space mission.
The minister in a written reply to Lok Sabha said that “Work on Chandrayaan-3 involves various processes including finalisation of configuration, subsystems realisation, integration, spacecraft level detailed testing and a number of special tests to evaluate the system performance on earth.”
The work on Chandrayaan-2’s successor was affected due to the coronavirus pandemic and the impending lockdown. “However, all work that were possible in the work from home mode were taken up even during lockdown periods. Chandrayaan-3 realisation resumed after commencement of the unlock period and is in the matured stage of realization,” the Department of Space said in a statement.
Unlike its predecessor, Chandrayaan-3 will not have an orbiter.
We are working on it. It is the same configuration like Chandrayaan-2 but it will not have an orbiter. The orbiter launched during Chandrayaan-2 will be used for Chandrayaan-3. With that we are working on a system and mostly the launch will be next year in 2022, Sivan told PTI.
Chandrayaan-2, aimed at landing a rover on unchartered Lunar South Pole, was launched on July 22, 2019 on board the country’s most powerful geosynchronous launch vehicle.
However, the lander Vikram hard-landed on September 7, 2019, crashing India’s dream to become the first nation to successfully land on the lunar surface in its maiden attempt.
Chandrayaan-3 was earlier slated to be launched this year, 2021. However, the Covid-19 lockdown affected several projects of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) including the lunar mission.
Chandrayaan-3 is critical for ISRO as it will demonstrate India’s capabilities to make landings for further interplanetary missions.
The Chandrayaan-3 takes cues from the first Chandrayaan mission launched in October 2008 that made major discoveries including finding evidence of water on the lunar surface.