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India's Moon Mission on 2018 Target, Says ISRO Chief
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 03, 2017

AS Kiran Kumar.

ISRO boss AS Kiran Kumar says the second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 is making good progress; it is scheduled for launch next year. But critics question why should India get into the manned spaceflight race when the US and Russia have scaled back.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is on course to develop an engine for the moon mission Chandrayaan-2, said ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar.

"ISRO will develop an engine that will help in the controlled landing on the moon. The mission is currently planned for the first quarter of 2018. Scientists have developed an artificial crater to simulate the surface of lunar conditions for landing experiments," he told reporters on the sidelines of the convocation ceremony of Vels University near Chennai, the capital of southern state Tamil Nadu.

Kumar said tests were under way for a controlled landing of the spacecraft on the surface of the moon. A series of ground tests have also been conducted by ISRO scientists at its facility in Mahendragiri, Tirunelveli district, and in Challakere, in Chitradurga district near Bengaluru.

Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar mission, comprises an Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. It is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission and is planned to be launched as a composite stack into orbit by a GSLV-Mk II, as per information available on the ISRO website.

ISRO recently received global appreciation for launching a record 104 satellites, including the country's earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 series, on a single rocket on February 15.

Last week, Kumar had said India had the capability to develop a space station and the country should support it for long-term benefits as against critics' myopic vision for immediate benefits.

Critics question whether India should push for human spaceflight when the US, Russia and others have scaled back and jointly operate an international space station. Though China is ahead in pursuing this dream, ISRO is waiting for a clear roadmap and guidance from the government.

On India's plans for the Venus mission, Kumar said talks were on but nothing's been finalized so far.

An Epic Lunar Experience Lands at Space Center Houston
Houston TX (SPX) Feb 28, 2017
Space Center Houston is the first of four stops of a new exhibit featuring the Apollo 11 command module, which will leave the Smithsonian on a national tour for the first time since 1971. It will be the only location where guests can see the space capsules for both the first and last lunar landings. The awe-inspiring "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission" exhibit, on display Oct. 14-Mar ... read more

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