India has decided to once again postpone the launch of its ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission out of an abundance of caution.
Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it. Following this, the ISRO also recalled the launch of GSAT-11 from from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks. Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite….
“We don’t want to take any risk,” said the official, requesting anonymity. The official added that there are certain windows during which the mission could be launched. The next launch window is likely to be in January. Repeated attempts to solicit a response from ISRO chairman K. Sivan were not successful.
In April, Mr. Sivan informed the government about the postponement of the launch to October-November. A national-level committee to review Chandrayaan-2 recommended some additional tests before the mission could take off.
The mission will put an orbiter around the moon and a lander and rover on the surface. It is a follow-on to the successful Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.
An international fleet of spacecraft will be launched in 2018 to explore the Moon, Mars, Mercury and the Sun. Two sample-return spacecraft will enter orbit around asteroids while a third spacecraft will be launched to search for asteroids that contain water that can be mined.
NASA will also launch its next exoplanet hunting spacecraft in March. And the space agency will ring in 2019 with the first ever flyby of a Kuiper Belt object.
And, oh yes, Elon Musk is launching his car in the direction of Mars. (more…)
Statement of Jason Crusan Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Subcommittee on Space Committee on Science, Space, and Technology U. S. House of Representatives
Lunar CATALYST: Promoting Private Sector Robotic Exploration of the Moon
As part of the Agency’s overall strategy to conduct deep space exploration, NASA is also supporting the development of commercial lunar exploration. In 2014, NASA introduced an initiative called Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities.
A few updates on ISRO concerning rocket development and reforms of the space agency’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp., in the wake of two GSLV failures and a spectrum allocation scandal. It seems that the murky Indian space world will become just a bit clearer. And that delays in rocket development will force a down scoping and delay of the agency’s next lunar mission.
The Times of India has an interesting Q&A interview with U.R. Rao, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences that chose the instruments for ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander. He explains why the U.S. and Europe have been shut out of this mission and describes the failures by its predecessor, Chandrayaan-1, that require a follow-up mission.
Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to moon, is being targeted for launch during 2013. Chandrayaan-2 will have an orbiter (satellite), a lander and a rover. Chandrayaan-2 is planned to be launched on board Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. While the lander will be provided by Russia, the orbiter and the rover are being built by ISRO.