The Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) has released the first dataset from the eight instruments aboard India’s second Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission. The orbiter, which completed sixteen months around the moon in lunar orbit, was launched on July 22, 2019 and placed into the lunar orbit on August 20.
At the end of a year that the orbiter was in space, Isro said the spacecraft was “healthy”, subsystem performance was normal, and there was adequate fuel on board to remain operational for about seven years.
Here’s everything you need to know about the orbiter:
– Chandrayaan-2, described as the most complex mission ever undertaken by Isro, cost less than half the budget of the Hollywood blockbuster “Avengers Endgame”. The total cost of the mission is estimated at US $ 124 million, while the film has an estimated budget of close to US $ 356 million.
– The mission made India the fourth nation after the United States, Russia and China to land a spacecraft on the moon.
– Chandrayaan-2 consisted of three missions assembled together: the orbiter that would circle the moon, the Vikram lander that was to make a soft landing near the south pole of the moon and the Pragyan rover that was to explore the lunar surface and observe the ice of water. The lander and rover were destroyed during the landing attempt in September 2019.
– Chandrayaan 2’s lander, “Vikram”, is named after the pioneer of the Indian space program, physicist Dr Vikram Sarabhai.
– Data from seven of the eight instruments was collected by the Indian Space Science Data Center in Byalalu in Karnataka, where it was prepared in the Planetary Data System 4 (PDS4) format for public release before being scientifically peer-reviewed. It was then released via the PRADAN portal hosted by ISSDC at https://pradan.issdc.gov.in.