Sriharikota: The Indian Space Research Organisation on Friday said the Chandrayaan-2 mission is on schedule and flight models are going through various tests.
In Chandrayan-2, the country’s second mission to the Moon, ISRO is planning to rover to explore the lunar surface.
“It is on schedule. We have to find out whether it is in March or not,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters here in a response to a question.
Speaking after the successful orbiting of 31 satellites, including weather observation Cartosat-2 Series craft, by the PSLV-C40, he said the Chandrayan-II satellite was getting ready at the ISRO Satellite Centre.
The flight models were going through various levels of tests, he added.
It would comprise an orbiter, lander and six-wheeled rover which would move around the landing site and instruments on it would send back data that would be useful in analysing the lunar soil.
After reaching the lunar orbit, the Lander housing the rover will separate from the orbiter. After a controlled descent, the lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy the rover.
Director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu S Somanath said tests related to Chandrayan-II were underway at the centre also.
“What we are trying to do is to prove the ability to do a soft landing (the rover). Tests are on to demonstrate soft landing in a simulated way,” he said.
Terming it as a “wonderful task”, he said “we are trying to complete it in a short span of time and that is going on right now”.
To a query on whether there was possibility of ISRO carrying out manned space mission, Kumar said, “The possibility was always there for taking up such a mission but the government has to decide by giving resources.” On the future launches to be taken up by ISRO in 2018,
Kumar said the next launch will be a communication satellite.
The GSLV-MkII first stage had been assembled and already completed integration. “They are going through process and it is targeted sometime next month (for launch),” he said.
Beyond that, there would be MkIII and another PSLV which will carry navigation satellite IRNSS-1I.
“We also have a number of launches almost every month one launch and we are going to work towards that”, Kumar, who is retiring later this month, said.
“We are trying to push the launch envelope to such an extent so that we have three of GSLV category and nine of PSLV category (this year). It is still quite a tough task”, he said.