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TeamIndus rover
Rover of TeamIndus to be sent to the moon aboard ISRO's PSLV. (Photo courtesy: TeamIndus)

India, Japan to Send Joint Moon Mission Soon, Pact in 2 Months

India and Japan will visit Japan jointly to bring back samples as part of their joint exploration mission.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have already been working on it. This is the third moon trip for both the nations.

ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, A.S.Kiran Kumar, and JAXA president Naoki Okumura said the arrangement will be signed in a couple of months and the mission scope will be finalized in six months.

Addressing a news conference at the annual Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum APRSAF-24, JAXA’s Dr. Okamura said, “India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia Pacific region. We hope we can do it as soon as possible.”

The Indian Space Research Organisation sent its first orbiter mission to moon, Chandrayaan-1, in 2008 and plans a lander rover mission as part of the Google Challenge to land a rover on moon by March 2018.

India’s private space agency TeamIndus will launch its spacecraft aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in December 2017 to inject the spacecraft into an orbit 880 km x 70,000 km above the surface of the earth.

There on, the spacecraft will set course to the Moon using a series of complex orbital manoeuvres. After hitting a maximum speed of 10.5 km per second en route to the Moon, it will fire its rocket engines again, to decelerate and soft-land as the dawn breaks on Mare Imbrium, a vast lava plain on the Moon.

ECA, the rover, will be released onto the surface to transmit high definition images to the spacecraft, which in turn, will transmit them to Earth. The mission will be operative over 24 days — 10 days in orbit and 14 days on the surface. The spacecraft (which is 2 m tall and 600 kg heavy) will run on 240 W of solar power and 28 V 24 A hour battery. The TeamIndus rover on moon will land and go into operation by March 2018.

ECA or Ek Choti si Asha will be lowered onto the surface in pre-programmed software mode, move for a minimum distance of 500 m, capture and beam back high definition videos and images to Earth through the spacecraft. One of the five ground stations on Earth (Goldstone, USA; Madrid, Spain; Byalalu, India; Baik, Indonesia; Canberra, Australia) will pick the signals up and relay them to the TeamIndus Mission Control Centre. It is an answer to Google Challenge for landing on moon successfully.


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