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Chandrayaan-2 (Sanskrit: चन्द्रयान-२; Sanskrit: [t͡ɕən̪d̪ɾəjaːna d̪ʋi]; lit: Moon-craft[14][15] About this soundpronunciation ) is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.[16][17] Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),[18][19] the mission was launched from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 July 2019 at 2.43 PM IST (09:13 UTC) to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III).[20][8][9] It consists of a lunar orbiter, a lander, and a lunar rover named Pragyan, all of which were developed in India.[21] The main scientific objective is to map the location and abundance of lunar water.

Chandrayaan-2 lander and orbiter integrated stack.jpg
Chandrayaan-2 composite
Mission typeLunar orbiter, lander, rover
OperatorIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
SATCAT no.2019-042A
Mission durationOrbiter: > 1 year
Vikram lander ≤ 14 days[1]
Pragyan rover: ≤ 14 days[1]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Launch massCombined (wet): 3,850 kg (8,490 lb)[2][3][4]
Combined (dry): 1,308 kg (2,884 lb)[5]
Orbiter (wet): 2,379 kg (5,245 lb)[3][4]
Orbiter (dry): 682 kg (1,504 lb)[5]
Vikram lander (wet): 1,471 kg (3,243 lb)[3][4]
Vikram lander (dry): 626 kg (1,380 lb)[5]
Pragyan rover: 27 kg (60 lb)[3][4]
PowerOrbiter: 1 kW[6]

Vikram lander: 650 W

Pragyan rover: 50 W
Start of mission
Launch dateJuly 22, 2019, 14:43:12 IST (09:13:12 UTC)[7]
RocketGSLV Mk III[8][9]
Launch siteSatish Dhawan Space Centre Second Launch Pad
ContractorIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Moon orbiter
Orbital insertion20 August, 2019 03:32 UTC [10][11]
Orbital parameters
Periapsis altitude100 km (62 mi)[12]
Apoapsis altitude100 km (62 mi)[12]
Inclination90° (polar orbit)
Moon lander
Spacecraft componentrover
Landing date7 September, 2019 (planned)[13]
Chandrayaan-2 mission explained

The lander and the rover will land on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar region[22] at a latitude of about 70° south on 7 September 2019. The wheeled Pragyan rover will move on the lunar surface and will perform on-site chemical analysis for 14 days (one lunar day). It can relay data to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander, which were launched together on the same rocket. The orbiter will perform its mission for one year in a circularized lunar polar orbit of 100 × 100 km.[23][24][25]

Launch of Chandrayaan-2 was originally scheduled for 15 July 2019 at 2:51 IST (14 July 2019 21:21 UTC) but was called off due to a technical snag noticed while filling the cryogenic engine of the rocket with helium[26] about one hour before launch. The countdown was frozen at T minus 56 minutes, 24 seconds (56 minutes and 24 seconds[27] to launch).[28][7] It was launched on 22 July 2019 14:43 IST (09:13 UTC) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.[29][30]

A successful landing would make India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the space agencies of the USSR, the USA and China.[31] If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will be the southernmost lunar landing, aiming to land at 67°S or 70°S latitude.[32][33][34][35]



On 12 November 2007, representatives of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and ISRO signed an agreement for the two agencies to work together on the Chandrayaan-2 project.[36] ISRO would have the prime responsibility for the orbiter and rover, while Roscosmos was to provide the lander. The Indian government approved the mission in a meeting of the Union Cabinet, held on 18 September 2008 and chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.[37] The design of the spacecraft was completed in August 2009, with scientists of both countries conducting a joint review.[38][39]

Although ISRO finalised the payload for Chandrayaan-2 per schedule,[40] the mission was postponed in January 2013[41] and rescheduled to 2016 because Russia was unable to develop the lander on time.[42][43] Roscosmos later withdrew in wake of the failure of the Fobos-Grunt mission to Mars, since the technical aspects connected with the Fobos-Grunt mission were also used in the lunar projects, which needed to be reviewed.[42] When Russia cited its inability to provide the lander even by 2015, India decided to develop the lunar mission independently.[41][44]

The spacecraft's launch had been scheduled for March 2018, but was first delayed to April and then to October to conduct further tests on the vehicle.[45][46] On 19 June 2018, after the program's fourth Comprehensive Technical Review meeting, a number of changes in configuration and landing sequence were planned for implementation, pushing the launch to the first half of 2019.[47] Two of the lander's legs got minor damage during one of the tests in February 2019.[48]

Chandrayaan-2 launch was initially scheduled for 14 July 2019, 21:21 UTC (15 July 2019 at 02:51 IST local time), with the landing expected on 6 September 2019.[17] However, the launch was aborted due to a technical glitch and rescheduled to 22 July 2019.[49][7][50]

On 22 July 2019 at 09:13 UTC (14:43 IST) GSLV MK III M1 on its first operational flight successfully launched Chandrayaan-2.[51]


The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-2 are to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface. Scientific goals include studies of lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.[52] The orbiter will map the lunar surface and help to prepare 3D maps of it. The onboard radar will also map the surface while studying the water ice in the south polar region and thickness of the lunar regolith on the surface.[53]


The mission was launched on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) with an approximate lift-off mass of 3,850 kg (8,490 lb) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island.[2][12][9][54] As of June 2019, the mission has an allocated cost of 978 crore (approximately US$141 million) which includes 603 crore for space segment and 375 crore as launch costs on GSLV Mk III.[55][56] Chandrayaan-2 stack was initially put in an Earth parking orbit of 170 km perigee and 40,400 km apogee by the launch vehicle.[57]


Chandrayaan-2 orbiter at integration facility

The orbiter will orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km (62 mi).[58] The orbiter carries eight scientific instruments; two of them are improved versions of those flown on Chandrayaan-1. The approximate launch mass was 2,379 kg (5,245 lb).[3][4][40][59] The Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) will conduct high-resolution observations of the landing site prior to separation of the lander from the orbiter.[58][1] The orbiter's structure was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and delivered to ISRO Satellite Centre on 22 June 2015.[60][61]

  • Dimensions: 3.2 × 5.8 × 2.2 m[25]
  • Gross lift-off mass: 2,379 kg (5,245 lb)[2]
  • Propellant mass: 1,697 kg (3,741 lb)[5]
  • Dry mass: 682 kg (1,504 lb)[5]
  • Power generation capacity: 1000 W[25]
  • Mission duration: 1 year in lunar orbit, which may be extended to 2 years.[62]

Vikram landerEdit

Rover Pragyan mounted on the ramp of Vikram lander
Images of the Earth captured by Chandrayaan-2 Vikram Lander camera LI4

The mission's lander is called Vikram (Sanskrit: विक्रम, lit. 'Valour')  Pronunciation [63] named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919–1971), who is widely regarded as the father of the Indian space programme.[64]

The Vikram lander will detach from the orbiter and descend to a low lunar orbit of 30 km × 100 km (19 mi × 62 mi) using its 800 N (180 lbf) liquid main engines. It will then perform a comprehensive check of all its on-board systems before attempting a soft landing, deploy the rover, and perform scientific activities for approximately 14 days. The approximate combined mass of the lander and rover is 1,471 kg (3,243 lb).[3][4]

The preliminary configuration study of the lander was completed in 2013 by the Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad.[41] The lander's propulsion system consists of eight 50 N (11 lbf) thrusters for attitude control and five 800 N (180 lbf) liquid main engines derived from ISRO's 440 N (99 lbf) Liquid Apogee Motor.[65][66] Initially, the lander design employed four main liquid engines, but a centrally mounted engine was added to handle new requirements of having to orbit the Moon before landing. The additional engine is expected to mitigate upward draft of lunar dust during the soft landing.[54] Vikram can safely land on slopes up to 12°.[67][68]

Some associated technologies include a high resolution camera, Lander Hazard Detection Avoidance Camera (LHDAC), Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC),[69] an 800 N throttleable liquid main engine,[60] attitude thrusters, Ka band radio altimeter (KaRA),[70] Laser Inertial Reference & Accelerometer Package (LIRAP),[71] and the software needed to run these components.[1][58] Engineering models of the lander began undergoing ground and aerial tests in late October 2016, in Challakere in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka. ISRO created roughly 10 craters on the surface to help assess the ability of the lander's sensors to select a landing site.[72]

  • Dimensions: 2.54 × 2 × 1.2 m[25]
  • Gross lift-off mass: 1,471 kg (3,243 lb)[2]
  • Propellant mass: 845 kg (1,863 lb)[5]
  • Dry mass: 626 kg (1,380 lb)[5]
  • Power generation capability: 650 W
  • Mission duration: ≤14 days (one lunar day)[1]

Pragyan roverEdit

Pragyan rover of the Chandrayaan-2 mission

The mission's rover is called Pragyan (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञान, lit. 'Wisdom')  Pronunciation .[73][74] The rover's mass is about 27 kg (60 lb) and will operate on solar power.[3][4] The rover will move on 6 wheels traversing 500 meters on the lunar surface at the rate of 1 cm per second, performing on-site chemical analysis and sending the data to the lander, which will relay it to the Mission Control on the Earth.[75][76][40][59][55] For navigation, the rover uses:

  • Stereoscopic camera-based 3D vision: two 1 megapixel, monochromatic NAVCAMs in front of the rover will provide the ground control team a 3D view of the surrounding terrain, and help in path-planning by generating a digital elevation model of the terrain.[77] IIT Kanpur contributed to the development of the subsystems for light-based map generation and motion planning for the rover.[78]
  • Control and motor dynamics: the rover has a rocker-bogie suspension system and six wheels, each driven by independent brushless DC electric motors. Steering is accomplished by differential speed of the wheels or skid steering.[79]

The expected operating time of Pragyan rover is one lunar day or around 14 Earth days as its electronics are not expected to endure the frigid lunar night. However, its power system has a solar-powered sleep/wake-up cycle implemented, which could result in longer service time than planned.[80][81]

  • Dimensions: 0.9 × 0.75 × 0.85 m[25]
  • Power: 50 W[25]
  • Travel speed: 1 cm/sec.[25]
  • Mission duration: ≤14 days (one lunar day)


Mission Overview

ISRO selected eight scientific instruments for the orbiter, four for the lander,[82][2][83] and two for the rover.[40] While it was initially reported that NASA and ESA would participate in the mission by providing some scientific instruments for the orbiter,[84] ISRO in 2010 had clarified that due to weight restrictions it will not be carrying foreign payloads on this mission.[85] However, in an update just a month before launch,[86] an agreement between NASA and ISRO was signed to include a small laser retroreflector from NASA to the lander's payload to measure the distance between the satellites above and the microreflector on the lunar surface.[87][88]


Payloads on the orbiter are:[2][83]

Vikram landerEdit

The payloads on the Vikram lander are: [2][83]

  • Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) Seismometer by LEOS for studying Moon-quakes near the landing site[82][12][89]
  • Chandra's Surface Thermo-physical Experiment (ChaSTE) Thermal probe for estimating the thermal properties of the lunar surface[12]
  • RAMBHA-LP Langmuir probe for measuring the density and variation of lunar surface plasma[82][12]
  • A laser retroreflector array (LRA) by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for taking precise measurements of distance between the reflector on the lunar surface and satellites in lunar orbit.[90][86][87] The micro-reflector weighs about 22 grams and can not be used for taking observations from Earth-based lunar laser stations.[87]

Pragyan roverEdit

Pragyan rover carries two instruments to determine the abundance of elements near the landing site: [2][83]

ILSA MEMS sensor package

Mission profileEdit

Animation of Chandrayaan-2
Overall motion of Chandrayaan-2
   Earth ·    Moon ·    Chandrayaan-2
Timeline of Operations [91]
Phase Date Event Detail Result References
Geocentric phase 22 July 2019 09:13:12 UTC Launch Burn time: 16 min 14 sec Apogee: 45,475 km (28,257 mi)
Perigee: 169.7 km (105.4 mi)
24 July 2019 09:22 UTC 1st orbit-raising maneuver Burn time: 48 sec Apogee: 45,163 km (28,063 mi)
Perigee: 230 km (140 mi)
25 July 2019 19:38 UTC 2nd orbit-raising maneuver Burn time: 883 sec Apogee: 54,829 km (34,069 mi)
Perigee: 251 km (156 mi)
29 July 2019 09:42 UTC 3rd orbit-raising maneuver Burn time: 989 sec Apogee: 71,792 km (44,609 mi)
Perigee: 276 km (171.5 mi)
2 August 2019 09:57 UTC 4th orbit-raising maneuver Burn time: 646 sec Apogee: 89,472 km (55,595 mi)
Perigee: 277 km (172 mi)
6 August 2019 09:34 UTC 5th orbit-raising maneuver Burn time: 1041 sec Apogee: 142,975 km (88,841 mi)
Perigee: 276 km (171 mi)
13 August 2019 20:51 UTC Trans-lunar injection Burn time: 1203 sec
Selenocentric phase 20 August 2019 03:32 UTC Lunar orbit insertion
1st lunar bound maneuver
Burn time: 1738 sec Aposelene: 18,072 km (11,229 mi)
Periselene: 114 km (71 mi)
21 August 2019 (planned) 2nd lunar bound maneuver
28 August 2019 (planned) 3rd lunar bound maneuver
30 August 2019 (planned) 4th lunar bound maneuver
1 September 2019 (planned) 5th lunar bound maneuver


Chandrayaan-2 lifting off

Chandrayaan-2 launch was initially scheduled for 14 July 2019, 21:21 UTC (15 July 2019 at 02:51 IST local time).[17] However, the launch was aborted 56 minutes and 24 seconds before launch due to a technical glitch and rescheduled to 22 July 2019.[49][7] Unconfirmed reports later cited a leak in the 'nipple joint' of a helium gas bottle as the cause of cancellation.[50][99][100]

Chandrayaan-2 was launched onboard the GSLV MK III M1 launch vehicle on 22 July 2019 at 09:13 UTC (14:43 IST) with better-than-expected apogee as a result of the cryogenic upper stage being burned to depletion, which later eliminated the need for one of the apogee-raising burns during the geocentric phase of mission.[51][101][102] This also resulted in the saving of around 40 kg fuel onboard the spacecraft.[103]

Immediately after launch, multiple observations of a slow-moving bright object over Australia were made, which could be related to upper stage venting its propellants after concluding its main burn.[104][105]

Chandrayaan-2 trajectory

Earth-orbit burnsEdit

A view of Mission Operations Complex (MOX-1), ISTRAC[106] prior to fourth Earth-bound burn[95]

First orbit burnEdit

The first Earth-bound orbit-raising burn was performed as planned on 24 July 2019, 09:22 UTC for duration of 48 seconds. Perigee of Chandrayaan-2 was raised to 230 km (140 mi) with apogee at 45,163 km (28,063 mi).[92]

Second orbit burnEdit

The second Earth-bound orbit-raising burn was performed as planned on 25 July 2019, 19:38 UTC for duration of 883 seconds. Apogee of Chandrayaan-2 was raised to 54,829 km (34,069 mi) with perigee at 251 km (156 mi).[93]

Third orbit burnEdit

The third Earth-bound orbit-raising burn was performed as planned on 29 July 2019, 09:42 UTC for a duration of 989 seconds. Apogee of Chandrayaan-2 was raised to 71,792 km (44,609 mi) with perigee at 276 km (171 mi).[94]

Fourth orbit burnEdit

The fourth Earth-bound orbit-raising burn was performed as planned on 2 August 2019, 09:57 UTC for a duration of 646 seconds. Apogee of Chandrayaan-2 was raised to 89,472 km (55,595 mi) with perigee at 277 km (172 mi).[95]

Fifth orbit burnEdit

The fifth Earth-bound orbit-raising burn was performed as planned on 6 August 2019, 09:34 UTC for a duration of 1041 seconds. Apogee of Chandrayaan-2 was raised to 142,975 km (88,841 mi) with perigee at 276 km (171 mi).[96]

Trans-lunar injectionEdit

The trans-lunar injection burn was performed as planned on 14 August 2019, 02:21 IST (13 August 2019, 20:51 UTC) for a duration of 1203 seconds.[97]

Lunar orbit insertionEdit

First lunar orbit reductionEdit

Chandrayaan-2 completed the lunar orbit insertion operation on 20 August 2019 at 03:32 UTC. This manoeuvre involved firing of the liquid engine for 1738 seconds. The satellite was placed in an elliptical orbit that passed over the polar regions of the Moon, with 18,072 km (11,229 mi) aposelene and 114 km (71 mi) periselene. [98]

Planned landing siteEdit

Landing site [34] Coordinates
Prime landing site 70°54′10″S 22°46′52″E / 70.90267°S 22.78110°E / -70.90267; 22.78110
Alternate landing site 67°52′27″S 18°28′10″W / 67.87406°S 18.46947°W / -67.87406; -18.46947

Two landing sites were selected, each with a landing ellipse of 32 km x 11 km.[34] The prime landing site (PLS54) is at 70.90267 S 22.78110 E (~350 km north of the South Pole-Aitken Basin rim[22][34]), and the alternate landing site (ALS01) is at 67.874064 S 18.46947 W. The prime site is on a high plain between the craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N.[107][22] The criteria used to select the landing zones were: south polar region, on the near side, slope less than 15 degrees, boulders less than 50 cm (20 in), crater and boulder distribution, sunlit for at least 14 days, nearby ridges do not shadow the site for long durations.[34]

The planned landing site and its alternate site, are located within the polar LQ30 quadrangle. The surface likely consists of impact melt, possibly mantled by ejecta from the massive South Pole–Aitken basin and mixing by subsequent nearby impacts.[108] The nature of the melt is mostly mafic,[108] meaning it is rich in silicate mineral, magnesium and iron. The region could also offer scientifically valuable rocks from the lunar mantle if the basin impactor excavated all the way through the crust.[109]

Speed and distance of Chandrayaan-2 around the Earth
Distance to Moon's surface


The list below lists most instrumental scientists and engineers who were key to the development of Chandrayaan-2 project: [110][111]

See alsoEdit


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