With new missions to the sun and moon, ISRO is about to make history
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to create history not once but twice in the next two years with the launch of Chandrayaan II and Aditya-L1.
ISRO's launch of Chandrayaan II in March 2018 will mark India's first landing on the moon, five years after the last landing, which was by China. The objective will be to observe the lunar surface and send data to help analyse lunar soil. It will also take a detailed 3D map of the moon's surface.
The preparations for the launch of Chandrayaan II include developing three unmanned vehicles for the mission — an orbiter craft (to hover above the moon's surface), a rover, and a lander (to safely plop that rover on the moon). According to IANS, ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said,
"We are working towards putting an orbiter, lander, and the whole system in the lunar orbit in the first quarter of 2018. The orbiter is getting ready and integrated. The lander and rover are undergoing tests. Some more tests are planned for December."
Chandrayaan II will weigh approximately 3,290 kg and cost around $93 million.
With Aditya L1, ISRO also plans to launch its maiden mission to the sun in 2019. It will be launched from Sriharikota on the PSLV-XL launch vehicle. Talking to Hindustan Times, a senior ISRO official said,
“The main purpose is to do coronal and near UV studies. It will help us answer questions like how the corona gets so hot.”
From next year, ISRO plans on increasing its annual satellite launches from eight or nine to 20.