India's third mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-3 will most likely be delayed further and shall be launched in the year 2022, said ISRO chief K Sivan.
Chandrayaan-3 is among the several space projects of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that were affected because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Unlike its predecessor, Chandrayaan-3 will not have an orbiter.
“We are working on it. It is the same configuration as Chandrayaan-2 but it will not have an orbiter. The orbiter launched during Chandrayaan-2 will be used for Chandrayaan-3. With that, we are working on a system and mostly the launch will be next year in 2022,” Sivan told PTI.
Chandrayaan-2, aimed at landing a rover on unchartered Lunar South Pole, was launched on July 22, 2019, onboard the country's most powerful geosynchronous launch vehicle.
However, the lander Vikram hard-landed on September 7, 2019, crashing India's dream to become the first nation to successfully land on the lunar surface in its maiden attempt.
Chandrayaan-3 is critical for ISRO as it will demonstrate India's capabilities to make landing for further interplanetary missions.
He said ISRO is targeting December to launch the first unmanned mission under the Gaganyaan project. The mission was originally scheduled to launch in December last year.
It will be followed by another unmanned mission and the third leg is the main module, he said.
Gaganyaan envisages sending three Indians to space by 2022. The four test pilots selected for the mission are currently undergoing training in Russia.
When asked about the launch of the third module of Gaganyaan -- the manned mission -- Sivan said, “A lot of technology needs to be demonstrated. We will decide on the time (of the manned mission) after checking whether all the technology is perfect.”
With PTI Inputs