India is set to unfold its ‘tricolor’ on Moon… Yes, you read it right. India will launch twin Moon missions from its own soil in early 2018. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its Chandrayaan-2 mission and another mission by Team Indus, a group of space enthusiasts who want to unfurl the Tricolour on the moon's surface as part of a global lunar competition.
ISRO Chairman, Kiran Kumar said that these two missions are different from each other and will even use different instruments. Team Indus will use a PSLV to launch its lunar spacecraft, whereas Chandrayaan 2 will launch via GSLV MK II.
Mission Chandrayaan 2
Chandrayaan 2 is ISRO’s big mission for the year 2018. Chandrayaan 2 consists of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. It is an advanced version of the Chandrayaan-1 mission. According to ISRO, the Chandrayaan 2 will be launched in form of a composite stack into the Earth Parking Orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km. The GSLV-Mk II will carry the Chandrayaan 2.
The Orbiter with scientific payloads will hover in the orbit around the Moon, while the Lander will make a soft landing on the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite and deploy the Rover.
Team Indus Mission
Team Indus is the only Indian company in the competition. Currently, it has over 100 staff including retired ISRO scientists and several aeronautic engineers.Even though the company joined the competition three years after the Lunar Xprize was announced, it was one of the three teams to win $1 million milestone award for the successful pilot test of lunar lander technology.
The mission by Team Indus is presently a part of a global competition Google Lunar XPRIZE announced by the technology giant. As part of the competition, Team Indus is bidding to win a prize sum of $30 million.
What is so exciting about LunarXPRIZE!
Teams participating in the LunarXPRIZE by Google will have to move a distance of 500 m on the moon’s surface and also send high-definition images to the Earth. “Team Indus is pursuing a big hairy audacious goal. I invested in Team Indus as I believe in their audacious mission to reach and land on the moon,” said Nilekani commending the Team Indus.
Apart from Team Indus, US team (Moon Express), an Israeli team (SpaceIL) and an international team (Synergy Moon) have also procured launch contracts. A PSLV rocket will take Team Indus’ 600 kg spacecraft to the lunar orbit, while ISRO will use its GSLV Mk II rocket for the mission. Also, Kiran Kumar has wished Team Indus "all the best for the mission".