State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) on Monday delivered a spacecraft module with an orbiter and a lander to the Indian space agency for its second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 slated for the near future.
“The three-tonne bus structure is made out of central composite cylinder, shear webs and deck panels,” HAL chairman T. Suvarna Raju said.
The country’s second lunar mission will have an orbiter to move around the moon and a lander and rover to drive on its bumpy and craters-ridden surface.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch its second ambitious lunar exploratory mission in 2016-17 using a heavy rocket from its spaceport at Sriharikota in coastal Andhra.
The space agency’s satellite centre in the city will fabricate the spacecraft with the lander and rover, which the Russian space agency (Roskosmos) was to originally build under an agreement signed in 2007 with ISRO but Roskosmos has since backed out.
India launched in October 2008 its maiden unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, which was instrumental in discovering ‘water’ beneath the moon’s surface through one of its payloads, an experimental instrument the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent onboard its spacecraft.
ISRO had said then that the second mission with five payloads will test various technologies and conduct new experiments using the wheeled rover, which will pick up soil or rock samples for onsite chemical analysis.
HAL has been partnering with ISRO to provide hardware to its various satellite missions and rockets.