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The Chandrayaan programme (About this soundpronunciation ), also known as the Indian Lunar Exploration Programme is an ongoing series of outer space missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The programme incorporates a lunar orbiter, impactor, and future lunar lander and rover spacecraft. The name of the programme is from Sanskrit candrayāna (transl. 'Moon-craft').

Chandrayaan programme
OrganizationIndian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
PurposeExploration of the Moon
Program history
Cost1,364 crore (US$200 million)[1][2]
Maiden flightChandrayaan-1, 22 October 2008 (2008-10-22)
Last flightChandrayaan-2, 22 July 2019 (2019-07-22)
Launch site(s)
Vehicle information
Vehicle typelunar orbiters, landers and rovers
Launch vehicle(s)


Programme structureEdit

The Chandrayaan (Indian Lunar Exploration Programme) programme is a multiple mission programme. As of September 2019, one orbiter with an impactor probe has been sent to the Moon, using ISRO's workhorse PSLV rocket. The second spacecraft consisting of orbiter, soft lander and rover was launched on 22 July 2019, by using a GSLV Mk III rocket.

Phase I: Orbiter/ImpactorEdit

Diagram of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Chandrayaan project on course in his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2003. The mission was a major boost to India's space program. The idea of an Indian scientific mission to the Moon was first mooted in 1999 during a meeting of the Indian Academy of Sciences. The Astronautical Society of India carried forward the idea in 2000. Soon after, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set up the National Lunar Mission Task Force which concluded that ISRO has the technical expertise to carry out an Indian mission to the Moon. In April 2003 over 100 eminent Indian scientists in the fields of planetary and space sciences, Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, astronomy, astrophysics and engineering and communication sciences discussed and approved the Task Force recommendation to launch an Indian probe to the Moon. Six months later, in November, the Indian government gave the nod for the mission.

The first phase includes the launch of the first lunar orbiters.

  • Chandrayaan-1, launched on 22 October 2008 aboard a PSLV-XL rocket, was a big success for ISRO as the Moon Impact Probe, a payload on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, discovered water on the Moon. Apart from discovering water the Chandrayaan-1 mission performed several other tasks such as mapping and atmospheric profiling of the Moon.

Phase II: Soft lander/RoverEdit

Orbiter and lander in stacked configuration with the rover inside the lander

On 18 September 2008, the First Manmohan Singh Cabinet approved the mission.[3] The design of the spacecraft was completed in August 2009, with scientists of both countries conducting a joint review.[4][5]

Although ISRO finalised the payload for Chandrayaan-2 per schedule,[6] the mission was postponed in January 2013[7] and rescheduled to 2016 because Russia was unable to develop the lander on time.[8][9] 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.[8] When Russia cited its inability to provide the lander even by 2015, India decided to develop the lunar mission independently.[7][10] The second phase, under preparation as of 2018, will incorporate a spacecraft capable of soft-landing on the Moon and will also deploy a robotic rover on the lunar surface, along with an orbiter to take additional measurements.

Chandrayaan-2 was to be launched on 14 July 2019. But the launch was called off at the last moments, 56 minutes before the launch because of technical issue. It was launched later on 22 July, 2019[11] aboard a GSLV Mk III rocket.

On September 6th, 2019 at approximately 1:53 the Indian space agency, ISRO, mission control lost all contact with the craft, while attempting to land. It was estimated to be at a height of 2.1 km from the moon's surface when contact was lost.[citation needed]

Phase III: In situ sampling/probable sample returnEdit

The next mission will be Chandrayaan-3. It is suggested to be launched in 2023.[12][13][14] India is collaborating with Japan in this mission but the mission is not yet defined. Most likely it will be a lander-rover mission to perform In situ sampling and analysis of collected lunar material[15][16] and demonstrate lunar night survival technologies.[17] There is also speculation that this mission may include lunar sample return.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Chandrayaan-2 mission cheaper than Hollywood film Interstellar - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-08-27.
  2. ^ "Question No. 2222: Status of Chandrayaan Programme" (PDF).
  3. ^ Sunderarajan, P. (19 September 2008). "Cabinet clears Chandrayaan-2". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  4. ^ "ISRO completes Chandrayaan-2 design". 17 August 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  5. ^ "India and Russia complete design of new lunar probe". Sputnik News. RIA Novosti. 17 August 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Payloads for Chandrayaan-2 Mission Finalised" (Press release). Indian Space Research Organisation. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b Ramachandran, R. (22 January 2013). "Chandrayaan-2: India to go it alone". The Hindu.
  8. ^ a b Laxman, Srinivas (6 February 2012). "India's Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission Likely Delayed After Russian Probe Failure". Asian Scientist. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  9. ^ "India's next moon mission depends on Russia: ISRO chief". NDTV. Indo-Asian News Service. 9 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Chandrayaan-2 would be a lone mission by India without Russian tie-up". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 14 August 2013.
  11. ^ ISRO set for April launch of Chandrayaan-2 after missed deadline. Vikram Gopal, Hindustan Times. 11 January 2019.
  12. ^ Shimbun, The Yomiuri (2019-07-30). "Japan, India to team up in race to discover water on moon". The Japan News. Retrieved 2019-07-30.
  13. ^ After Mars, ISRO to Set a Date with Venus. Trak. Malvika Gurung. 20 May 2019.
  14. ^ After Reaching Mars, India's Date With Venus In 2023 Confirmed, Says ISRO. U. Tejonmayam, India Times. 18 May 2019.
  15. ^ "The Hindu". 17 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Episode 82: Jaxa and International Collaboration with Professor Fujimoto Masaki". AstrotalkUK. 2019-01-04. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  17. ^ Sasaki, Hiroshi (17 June 2019). "JAXA's Lunar Exploration Activities" (PDF). UNOOSA. p. 8. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  18. ^ "After Chandrayaan-2, is India planning a third moon trip with Japan?". 22 July 2019.