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February 26 – March 4, 2018 / Vol 37, No 9 / Hawai`i Island, USA

23 Feb 2018, 18:14 UTC
February 26 – March 4, 2018 / Vol 37, No 9 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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ISRO Preparing to Launch Cost-Effective Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Lander in April to Moon South Pole Region
Indian Space Research Organization is aiming to launch its 8-billion rupee (US$123M) Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, lander, rover mission in early April, or in November if delayed. Dr. K. Sivan, ISRO chairman since January, says this is less expensive than the $165M Hollywood movie “Interstellar”. Taking over a month to reach the Moon after launch, Chandrayaan-2 lander and its 20-kg rover will operate on the lunar surface for 1 lunar day, or 14 Earth days. To maximize the operation time, ISRO will land the spacecraft right after the local dawn, resulting in ideal launch opportunity coming only once a month. With the Earth shadow casting on or near the Moon (lunar eclipse) around Jan / Feb and Jul / Aug this year, and again around Jan 2019, the best times to launch are early Apr and early Nov to avoid the shadow. Chandrayaan-2, weighing 3290 kg, will launch on heavy-payload lifter Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark II from Sriharikota space port off India east coast. India would become the 4th country to soft-land spacecraft on the Moon, after USA, Russia, and China. ISRO is aiming to ...

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