In the 50th Anniversary year of the first Moon landing. An event, beautifully described as “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, India is in the quest for that one giant leap for itself.
Mission Chandrayaan-2, Successor to India’s first excursion to the moon “Chandrayaan-1”. Is all set for its landmark launch at 2:43 pm today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
Chandrayaan-1. ‘Moon craft’ was the first Indian lunar probe under its ambitious Chandrayaan program. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008 and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. The mission was a major boost to India’s space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon.
Chandrayaan-2 will be carrying further the objective of lunar exploration, with a lunar orbiter, lander and a rover on board this time. All developed domestically.
The mission will attempt a soft landing of a lander and rover in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will perform on-site chemical analysis. It can relay data to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander.
A successful landing would make India the 4th country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the space agencies of the USSR, USA and China.
Chandrayaan 2 will dare to venture on the Moon’s southernmost polar region, a place where no country has ever gone before. Through this effort, the aim is to improve our understanding of the Moon, discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. These insights and experiences aimed at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come, propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers. The main scientific objective is to map the location and abundance of lunar water.
Though India had a late start in the race of space exploration and lags in technical and research aspect of the field in comparison to other space power such NASA, (American space agency), CNSA(Chinese National Space Agency), ESA( European Space Agency), Roscosmos, (Russian space agency). etc. What has established India’s ISRO as the Standout player has been its impeccable mission success rate and its ability to deliver the results in significantly lesser budgets.
Over decades the world powers have been keen on exploring and observing the farthest frontiers. But these expeditions were more guided by the sense of curiosity to it. However, recently the focus has shifted from ‘space exploration’ to ‘space exploitation’. Several types of research and studies coming along to gauge the potential utility and commercial prospects of the space. With many private companies carrying out space voyages, The goal has shifted to exploring commercial opportunities such as space trips for private individuals, scouting for precious minerals and metals, and even testing the option of human settlement in space.
With recent American and Chinese push for its space endeavors, India would be looking to establish itself as a dominant and credible player for future global discussion in Space related treaties, debates and discussions.
Missions like Shakti (2019), Chandrayaan-1 and 2, Mangalyaan-2 (2022-2023) and Gangaganyaan (2021) would provide acceptability to India’s case as a significant space power of the world. India has progressively used its space capabilities as a successful tool in global diplomacy, for example, ‘South Asia satellite’ pitched as satellite serving the needs of India’s neighboring countries as a part of the government’s Neighbourhood First policy.
Today’s mission launch is An Ambitious Leap from An Aspiring India. And with many more missions in the loop, Indian Space Agency ISRO is looking to accomplish something which was pretty unthinkable for us decades ago. We can comfortably presume that India’s space endeavors are set to take off. And will keep on adding proud moments to our nation’s future.