The Indian Space Research Organisation had constituted a high-level committee, headed by S Somanath, Director of Thiruvanathapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the lead centre responsible for all launch vehicle programmes of ISRO, to prepare a report on the proposed Chandrayaan-3
The new mission, Chandrayaan-3 is likely to be restricted to only a lander and rover. The necessary improvements stemming from the detailed analysis of what went wrong and other recommendations from the expert committee will be incorporated in the advance spacecraft and lander.
Talking to The Times of India, a scientist said that the top priority is to strengthen the legs of the lander so that it can withstand the impact during landing. While reports suggest that ISRO will build the lander in-house, which payloads will be on board is not finalised yet. Scientists are also exploring options to simplify the mission and have a detachable fuel module on board.
The lander of Chandrayaan-2, Vikram, was scheduled to make a soft-landing on September 7 this year. However, the lander’s trajectory began to deviate at about 2.1 km above the lunar surface, and the mission control subsequently lost all communication with the lander. None of the attempts to re-establish the contacts succeeded despite persistent efforts for several days.
Despite the apparent hard landing of the lander, the Chandrayaan-2 mission is believed to be 95-98% successful as all the instruments onboard the orbiter are functioning well. After the loss of communication with the lander Vikram, ISRO had reported that the precise launch and mission management had ensured a long life of almost seven years for the orbiter.
Earlier this month ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had said, “Yes, we could not achieve a soft landing, but all the systems functioned until 300 metres from the Moon’s surface. But now, we have very valuable data to set things right. We are working on a plan of action to go ahead with Vikram Lander landing. Let me assure you that ISRO will pull all its experience, knowledge and technical prowess to set things right and demonstrate soft landing on Moon in the near future.”