Bangalore: Chandrayaan-2, the proposed
second Indian mission to moon, would undertake "extremely good" experiments and try out new technologies but accommodating foreign payloads on board does not appear to be
a possibility at this stage.
The first edition of the moon odyssey had six foreign
payloads and five Indian ones on board but heavy orbiter
(satellite) and lander weight this time has put constraints on
the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in terms of
carry-load of instruments.
"One of the problems was weight consideration. Weight
limitation is overall boundary within which we have to work",
Prof U R Rao, who chaired the national committee of experts
drawn from ISRO centres, academic institutions and R&D
laboratories which finalised the payloads to be flown on board
Chandrayaan-2 (orbiter and rover), said.
With a heavy orbiter and lander, the weight of the
payloads cannot exceed 40 kg.
Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs about 2,650 kg at
lift-off of which the orbiter weight is about 1,400 kg and
lander`s about 1,250 kg.
The mission, which will have an orbiter, a lander and
a rover, is planned to be launched onboard Geosynchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space
Centre, Sriharikota, in 2013.
While the lander would be provided by Russia, the
orbiter and the rover are being built by ISRO.
Prof Rao, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Space
Sciences (ADCOS) and former Chairman of ISRO, said there were
informal discussions with players from the US and Europe on
flying their payloads, even though ISRO had not issued
"availability of opportunity" for foreign instruments.
"Right now, the weight problem is very serious", he
said indicating that foreign payloads may not be included at
all. "We just don’t have the weight. We cannot select payloads
which cannot go".
But Rao said one or two additional Indian payloads
might be included.
"Obviously, we will give preference to Indian payloads
now. We have to provide as much opportunities as possible to
But he said the Russians would conduct experiments
with their lander.
Rao said Chandrayaan-2 would carry out experiments
based on the discoveries of its predecessor. "It will conduct
extremely good experiments, try out very new ideas and new
A week ago, the committee, after detailed discussions
on mission requirements, weight and power availability for
scientific payloads, announced that it has recommended five
payloads to be flown on the orbiter of which three are new and
two are improved versions of the payloads flown earlier on
It also recommended two scientific payloads on the
rover of the lunar odyssey. All the seven are Indian payloads.
Rao said it is for the first time that India is
carrying a lander and rover which would carry out in-situ
experiments which are "always something of great importance".
He pointed to the planned landing "right at the
point", carrying out in-situ experiments and transmitting from
the antenna on the lander.
The US and Russia have undertaken missions involving
lander and rover in the past, he said, adding, "Certainly we
(India) are right there on the top".
Rao said he was sure if China, which has the
capability of sending such a mission, has done lunar landing
of this type.
Underlining the importance of the proposed moon
mission, Rao said India has to get into the "business of
landers and rovers" sooner or later.
He indicated that the mission would contribute to
enhancing knowledge as and when New Delhi decides to undertake
a manned mission to moon which ISRO officials maintain could
be a possibility in next ten to 15 years.
"May be in future?..manned moon mission?. We don’t
know when...," he said.
Rao said India is seeing Chandrayaan-2 mission as an
opportunity to develop new technologies in a "comprehensive
ISRO officials said the five recommended payloads of
the orbiter are aimed at mapping the major elements present on
the lunar surface and probe the presence of water and various
chemicals in the Earth`s natural satellite.
It also covers mapping of lunar surface over a wide
wavelength range for the study of presence of minerals, water
molecules and various chemicals, and the lunar exosphere
besides preparing a three-dimensional map essential for
experiments relating to lunar mineralogy and geology.
Both the instruments on Chandrayaan-2 rover are
expected to carry out elemental analysis of the lunar surface
near the landing site, they added.