India unveils spacecraft for second moon mission in race to become space 'superpower'

Telegraph 13 Jun 2019 05:40

India has announced that it will launch its second lunar mission in mid-July in a race to become a leading space superpower

The mission, if successful, would make India only the fourth country behind the United States, Russia and China to perform a "soft" landing on the moon and put a rover on it. China successfully landed a lunar rover in January.

The unmanned mission, called Chandrayaan-2, which means "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit, will involve an orbiter, a lander and a rover, which have been built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The mission is scheduled to launch on July 15 aboard ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. It will cost about 10 billion rupees ($144 million), ISRO said.

After a journey of more than 50 days, ISRO's lander will attempt a "soft", controlled landing on the lunar surface on around Sept. 6.

"The last 15 minutes to the landing are going to be the most terrifying moments for us," ISRO Chairman K. Sivan told media on Wednesday. The agency said variations in lunar gravity, terrain and dust could all cause problems.

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Indian Space Research OrganizationIndiaChinaChairman K SivanUnited States
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