India’s Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission Likely Delayed After Russian Probe Failure
India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, which was slated for launch in 2013 is expected to be rescheduled to 2016 because of problems with its Russian lander.
AsianScientist (Feb. 6, 2012) - India's Rs. 425 crore (US$86.7 million) second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2, which was slated for launch in 2013 is expected to be rescheduled to 2016 because of a delay in the construction of the Russian lander that was to place an Indian rover on the moon.
This setback comes in the wake of the failure of the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars. The news was announced by the head of the Institute for Space Research for the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lev Zelyony, in a recent interview to the Russian media.
Zelyony, who is part of the team reviewing the failure of the Phobos-Grunt mission, said that the “technical issues connected with the NPO Lavochkin's Phobos Grunt mission were also used in the lunar projects which need to be clearly reviewed."
On December 30 last year, the Russian ambassador to India, A. M. Kadakin, told Asian Scientist Magazine that Russia will honor its commitment and supply the lunar lander, but added that “slow and steady wins the race.” Indian space scientists interpreted this as a clear indication that Russia may not be able to supply the lander on time, and their apprehensions have proved true.
Indian space scientists said that the issue has posed two questions: whether India can develop its own lander or explore the possibility of looking for a lander from another source, namely NASA.
This is important because indications suggest that India has not made any back-up arrangements for a lunar lander, just in case the Russians were unable to stick to their schedule.
Previously, the father of the Indian moon mission, K. Kasturirangan, had told this magazine that keeping a readied lunar spacecraft on the ground for a long time was not a good idea.
Scientists said that the setback was in a way a blessing in disguise because it will give a boost to the Indian Mars mission in sourcing alternatives, either homegrown or from abroad.
“In the next one year we cannot imagine a scenario where there will be neither a mission to the moon or Mars," said a scientist.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Scoutek Ltd.
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