Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for two ambitious back-to-back space missions in the coming years, despite the unsuccessful landing of Chandrayaan 2 in 2019. ISRO’s Chairman, S Somnath, confirmed that both missions are set to launch by mid-2025, marking a significant milestone for India’s space exploration program.
The first of these missions is Chandrayaan 3, which will send a spacecraft into the moon’s orbit for astronomical study. This mission aims to showcase ISRO’s landing capabilities required for the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission, envisioned in collaboration with Japan for 2025. The Chandrayaan 3 mission will feature a lander and a rover, but not an orbiter. The propulsion module will carry the lander and rover combination up to a 100-kilometer lunar orbit. India will contribute the lander for a trip to the lunar south pole in cooperation with Japan, which will supply the rocket and rover. This mission will also include site sampling and lunar night survival technology, making it a significant step toward the exploration and settlement of the moon.
As part of its outreach initiatives, ISRO has also suggested a worldwide video competition on the topic of the importance of the Chandrayaan 3 mission for India and the global moon exploration and settlement. The competition invites submissions of an original and unpublished 2-3 minute MP4 video on the topic, along with a file containing the transcript in English, any references used, and a maximum 150-word English-language biography of the author.
The second mission, Aditya L1, is a proposed coronagraph satellite that aims to explore the sun’s atmosphere. This mission will be the first Indian astronomy mission dedicated to simultaneously exploring celestial sources in the X-ray, optical, and UV spectral bands. Aditya L1 will be put in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth system’s first Lagrangian Point, approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. The sun can be viewed all the time from this location, with no occultation or eclipses. This mission will take approximately 109 Earth days following launch to reach the halo orbit around the L1 point.
The Aditya L1 mission will carry seven research instruments, including a coronal magnetometer, and investigate chromospheric and coronal heating, the physics of partly ionized plasma, and the start of coronal mass ejections and flares. This mission marks a significant step forward in India’s solar research program, and its findings will significantly increase our understanding of the sun and its effects on Earth.
Despite the success or failure of these missions, one thing is clear: India’s space program is on an upward trajectory. These ambitious missions signify a big step forward for India in space science and solar research and will considerably increase our understanding of the moon and the sun. Furthermore, these efforts will undoubtedly enhance India’s reputation in the global community of space-faring nations, and we can expect to see more exciting developments from ISRO in the future.