Hyderabad: Scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation have said that they are gearing up to launch the Chandrayaan — II mission towards the latter part of this year, or during the first quarter of 2018.
Isro’s Satellite Applications Centre Director, M. Annadurai, revealed the tentative launch schedule while speaking to the press at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Shar, Sriharikota on Wednesday.
He said a Lander and a six-wheeled Rover were being prepped to go with the Chandrayaan-II mission. The chief scientist added that a launch is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2018.
According to Dr P.V. Venkita Krishnan, the director of the Isro Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri, engineers were currently testing soft-landing engines.
To a query on plans for human spaceflight programmes by the agency, Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said: “It is not our priority right now.”
The space organisation is also yet to come out with the exact nature of projects for missions to other planets and heavenly bodies — such as Mars, Venus and asteroids. But study teams are on the job and their proposals will be reviewed by a committee before finalising a project, Mr Kiran Kumar added.
He said experiments involving reusable rockets will continue and added that there was still a “long way to go”. About the successful deployment of the 104 satellites, Shar Director P. Kunhi Krishnan said 88 satellites, including the Cartosat, had already started communicating with the ground stations. There’s also the planned launch of the SAARC satellite in March or April this year.
It is basically a communication satellite with transponders and all member nations will be given opportunity to use the satellite for various applications such as tele-medicine, education, DTH, library networking and disaster networking.
The satellite will also help put in place a direct hot link network between the friendly south Asian nations.