India Finalizes Payloads for Chandrayaan-2 Mission

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India has finalized the instruments Chandrayaan-2 will carry to the Moon when it launches in 2013.

India’s second unmanned mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 will carry “improved versions” of instruments India’s previous lunar mission used to find water, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced Sept. 1.

A total of seven scientific payloads have been selected for the mission, which is targeted for a 2013 launch aboard India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, ISRO spokesman S. Satish told Space News. Five of the instruments will be onboard the orbiting spacecraft while two others will be carried by a rover that will be taken to the lunar surface by a Russian-built lander.

The payloads were chosen by a committee of experts drawn from ISRO centers, academic institutions and research laboratories and led by former ISRO Chairman U.R. Rao.

“The committee, after detailed deliberations and considering the mission requirements, weight and power available for scientific payloads, has recommended five payloads to be flown on the orbiter of which three are new and two are of the payloads flown earlier on Chandrayaan–1 orbiter,” ISRO said in a statement.

Inclusion of additional payloads will be considered at a later date following a detailed review, it said.

Chandrayaan-2 is expected to weigh about 2,650 kilograms at lift off, including the 1,400-kilogram orbiter and 1,250-kilogram lander, ISRO said in a statement.

“Development of the subsystems of the orbiter and the rover is in progress at ISRO centres in Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad,” the statement said.

The five selected payloads for the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter are:

  • The Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer and Solar X-ray Monitor, which will be used to map the major elements present on the lunar surface.
  • An L- and S-band synthetic aperture radar for probing the first few tens of meters of the lunar surface for the presence of different constituents, including water ice. It is expected to provide further evidence confirming the presence of water ice below the shadowed regions of the Moon.
  • The Imaging Infrared Spectrometer for the mapping of lunar surface over a wide wavelength range for the study of minerals, water molecules and hydroxyl.
  • The Neutral Mass Spectrometer to carry out a detailed study of the lunar exosphere.
  • The Terrain Mapping Camera–2 for preparing a 3-D map essential for studying the lunar mineralogy and geology.
  • The two scientific payloads on Chandrayaan-2 rover are:
  • The Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope.
  • The Alpha Particle Induced X–ray Spectroscope.

Both the instruments are expected to carry out elemental analysis of the lunar surface near the landing site.