India’s Ambitious Encore at the Moon

Chandrayaan 2 and the evolution of India’s space program
Taylor Dinerman
The Space Review

Chandrayaan 2, scheduled for launch in 2011, is a lander/rover mission that ISRO is developing with some technological input from Russia. This summer they plan to ask the international scientific community for proposals for sensors and experiments to include on the rover. This may be a difficult because the final configuration of the mission has not yet been determined. The rover may weigh anywhere from 30 to 100 kilograms. Obviously there is quite a bit of “trade space” so the proposals, or at least the early ones, will have to include more than a bit of guesswork.

To meet the anticipated launch date India and its partners will have to work within some serious time constraints. By space mission standards 2011 is right around the corner and system integration has got to start as soon as possible. The Indian government has approved funding for the mission and for the advanced version of the GLSV launcher needed to get the probe onto the lunar surface.

Along with their recently announced independent manned space exploration program the Chandrayaan series of science missions show that India is determined to be a space power in the full sense of the term. This flows naturally from India’s emergence as a global economic and political power. Over many decades hundreds of thousands of high-quality scientists and engineers have been trained in Indian universities. These men and women have helped propel India to its new status, and giving them challenging and fascinating new space projects is a way for the Indian government to keep this talent at home and busy.

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