Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday said it missed the January-February launch window for the second moon mission,Chandrayaan-2, which is now expected to be carried out around April. The new schedule comes after the ambitious space mission missed two earlier launch windows in 2017 and 2018.
“Because we could not complete a few tests, we are now looking at March-April,” ISRO chairman K.Sivan said in Bengaluru. The mission would be carried out by April end and next in June if this one was also missed, he added.
The space agency has 32 missions lined up this year. It undertook 16 missions last year. The most ambitious among this year’s missions will be to put a human in space.
The agency aims to complete two unmanned missions beginning end of next year before it can actually put a human in space, scheduled for December 2021.
ISRO has opened a Human Spaceflight Centre to better enable the agency to carry out the manned mission. With a budget of Rs 10,000 crore,ISRO is looking to send three humans into space for seven days, though the specific number for its first ‘Gaganyaan’ is yet to be finalised. ISRO will help select the astronauts along with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and other premier agencies. The astronauts will be trained initially at ISRO’s human sciences centre and then travel to Russia for advanced training.
ISRO plans to set up ground stations in countries such as Russia and Japan for other programmes, according to Sivan.
Other major plans for 2019 include the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), one of the smallest launches for ISRO. Sivan said it will have a payload of only 500 kilograms, integrate within 72 hours and requires only six people to be part of the mission compared to other big programmes. The cost of the mission would be around Rs 30 crore, he added.
ISRO will also launch its second reusable vehicle later this year, which could pave the way for further cost reductions.