India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, was originally an Indo-Russian venture are targeted to launch in 2013. The payload was also finalised, on-schedule, by 2010 to include an orbiter, a lander and a rover to be launched abroad a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.
But then Russia pulled out
Come 2013 Russia pulled out of helping India build its lander citing financial problems and the failure of the Roskomos’ Phobos Grunt mission. Because India would have to go at it alone, the mission profile has to be marginally adjusted.
The former ISRO chairman, K. Radhakrishnan, then announced that the Chandrayaan-2 would take off by 2016-17. ISRO spokesperson stated, “Isro aims to demonstrate its capability to soft-land on the lunar surface with this mission.”
2018 rolls in
March 2018 was finalised for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 but was then shifted to April 23, 2018 in search of a suitable launch window. But even before April rolled in, K. Sivan announced, “Chandrayaan 2 will not be in April, it has been changed to October.”
He further stated, “As the ongoing tests for the lunar mission will take 20 more more days, the April 23rd date could not be met. Therefore the panel decided to defer the launch,” as the national level committee to review Chandrayaan-2 recommended some more tests before the moon mission could take off.
After having missed two launch windows in 2018 because of necessary tests, January 2019 was pegged as the next launch launch for Chandrayaan-2. But K. Sivan cautiously said, “The mission could be carried out by April end and, if this one is also missed, by June.”
ISRO was reportedly looking for a window in mid-April for the launch but, Vikram, the moon lander for the mission, suffered minor injuries on two of its legs leaving the space agency in a quandary.
K. Sivan, the ISRO chairman, maintained that this is not a ‘delay’ or a ‘postponement’ as ISRO continues to search for a new launch window in May. A 12-member team, headed by Srinivasan RK, has also been formed to look into the anomalies that occurred during the Lander Drop test.
It was finally announced that ISRO would be attempting to make the launch window for Chandrayaan 2 in July.
'Technical snags' hit Chandrayaan 2 yet again
The launch was coming along with fan fare and even the launcher, GSLV Mark III-M1 was fuelled up when the countdown clock suddenly halted 56 minutes before the rocket was scheduled to take off.
Shortly there after, ISRO issued a statement explaining that a 'technical snag' was spotted and the launch of Chandrayaan 2 will now be postphoned. India's apex space agency is yet to announce a new date for the launch.
By the end of the year
Hopefully Chandrayaan 2 will take off by the end of the year if no more hurdles come in its way. The 'technical snag' of the mission still hasn't been explained so its uncertain how long it will take the fix or when the next possible launch window will roll in.