SRIHARIKOTA: To prepare for landing on the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation will conduct landing simulation tests for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft at Mahendragiri in coming weeks.
“To prove the ability to do the soft landing on the moon, we will do the simulation tests in a gravity-less situation. We need a set of liquid engines to control the thrust based landing. We have done the first series of tests and the first phase is very successful,” said S. Somanath, director, Liquid Propulsion System Centre, Mahendragiri.
Speaking to reporters here after the PSLV-C40 mission, he said the mission is entirely different from Chandrayaan-1.
Chandrayaan-2 mission comprises an orbiter, lander and six-wheeled rover which would move around the landing site and instruments on it would send back data that would be useful to study the lunar surface.
When asked about the launch date of the mission, Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the mission is on schedule and yet to find out whether the mission would be launched in March or not.
Speaking about the failure of the PSLV-C39 rocket he said, "Launch vehicle technology is very complex one. Despite hundreds of successful missions, you can still have the failure and you have to be prepared to face failure. Each time the system gets more and more robust."
Highlighting the positives he said, "Putting satellites at multiple orbits places PSLV at the big advantage over other launch vehicles. During the launches like 700kg Cartosat-2 series satellite, there is large capacity which is still unused. We are recovering a significant amount spent on launch vehicle by launching smaller satellites."
To a query on whether there was the possibility of Isro carrying out a manned space mission, Kumar said, "The possibility was always there for taking up such a mission, but the government has to decide by giving resources." Some critical systems have to be tested.
He further said on the technology front the pad-abort test will be conducted soon.
In the PSLV-C40 mission, the commands were given from Navic constellation developed for India's own GPS. "One of the commanding capability of the satellite, we use Navic constellation to give the command. Instead of sending commands from the ground you can send commands from the Navic. If a satellite is not visible from the ground, we can use the command system as it will be visible from the space," he said.
Isro is targeting one launch per month in 2018. "It's a huge challenge and the supply chains have to be ensured and complete chains of inputs like assembly and integration have to be achieved. I am sure the new chairman (K. Sivan) will lead the Isro effectively to achieve this goal," said Isro chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar.
The communication satellite GSAT-6A and Chandrayaan-2 mission will be launched by GSLV-Mk-II rockets. The second mission of GSLV-Mk-III rocket with a communication satellite and the launch of navigation satellite also will take place. It will also launch GSAT-11 which will have 32 beams looking at India.