The Journey Upto Chandrayaan-2

The Journey Upto Chandrayaan-2
M1 vehicle coming out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The lunar rover is being readied for a second attempt on July 22, 2019. Until D-Day arrives, let’s take a look at our history of space exploration

OT Staff
July 19 , 2019
03 Min Read

In a case of ‘better safe than sorry’, the launch of Chandrayaan-2 was called off by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on July 15, 2019 after a technical snag was observed in the launch vehicle system. Citizens were understandably disappointed that the error was detected an hour before launch, but the excitement is still afloat for a second attempt, which is scheduled for 2:43pm IST on July 22. The mission, comprising a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, intends to map out the locations and abundance of lunar water.

If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will be the only mission to have landed on the lunar south pole region, where water ice is stored in permanently shadowed areas. It will also be the second mission to have landed on the far side of the Moon. The first was China’s Chang'e 4, which landed on January 3, 2019.


With Chandrayaan-2’s launch only three days away, here’s a timeline to help you trace the major events in India’s path to becoming a space power:

1920s Space research begins, courtesy studies by scientists like C V Raman and S K Mitra

1962 Indian National Committee for Space Research formed by Vikram Sarabhai, father of India’s space program, and physicist Kalpathi R Ramanathan

1963 First sounding rocket launched from Kerala to probe the upper atmosphere

1969 ISRO formed to harness space technology for national development

1971 Era of satellite launches begin. The Satish Dhawan Space Centre is formed in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

1975 India’s first indigenously-designed satellite Aryabhata is launched into space. SITE, an informational TV experiment for rural India, is also launched. Running for a year with massive popularity, it used NASA’s ATS-6 satellite, and paved the way to develop ISRO’s INSAT satellite program

1979 Bhaskara-I, India’s first experimental and natively-built remote-sensing satellite is launched. Its images were used in hydrology, forestry and oceanography

1980 India's first experimental satellite launch vehicle (SLV-3) is launched

1984 Rakesh Sharma becomes India’s first astronaut, spending eight days in Russian station Salyut 7

1993 ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has its first mission, and will continue to launch historic satellites for the next two decades

2008 India’s first moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, is launched by the PSLV, making us the sixth space power to send an orbiter to the Moon

2014 ISRO’s Mars orbiter mission Mangalyaan makes it to Martian orbit in one go, making India the only country to achieve this feat

2015 India's first multi-wavelength space observatory, Astrosat, is launched

2019 The Chandrayaan-2 mission (hopefully!) makes a soft landing on the Moon

If you’d like to witness Chandrayaan-2’s second attempt, you can book seats at the viewing gallery of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Tickets go live from 6pm on July 19, on this portal.

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