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Stage set for India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-2; launch at 2:51 am

It aims at soft-landing on the lunar South Pole after a journey of about fifty-four days after it lifts off onboard the rocket GSLV Mark-Three at 2.51 a.m. tomorrow. It takes off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta, some ninety kilometres off Chennai.

Chandrayaan-2 carries thirteen Indian payloads and a NASA instrument to probe the moon’s topography, composition and its seismic activities. 

The booster GSLV Mark-Three that carries the prestigious payload to a preparatory orbit around the earth is 44 m long and weighs 640 ton. Nicknamed as the “fat boy,” also known as the “Bahubali,” it has been fully designed and developed in India, including its highly powerful cryogenic upper stage.

The total cost of the whole project is 978 crore rupees, which is much less than what other space-faring nations have spent. Chandrayaan-Two will undertake a fifty four-day journey to reach the moon, which is about 3-lakh, 84-thousand and 400 km away. 

Initially, it will encircle the earth for about seventeen days before getting away from its sphere of influence. Once it detaches itself from the earth’s gravity, it will travel towards the moon to get absorbed in an orbit around it. Chandrayaan-2 is, in essence, a combination of three crucial constituents, the orbiter, the lander and the rover, all made indigenously. 

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