India to launch Chandrayaan-II by 2017
Buoyed by the success of Chandrayaan-I mission which was meant to orbit the Moon, India will launch the second ambitious mission to land a rover there in the next two to three years.

The Chandrayaan-II will have indigenously developed rover and a lander using the Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

“Chandrayaan-II is a mission where we essentially need to move on (lunar) surface to conduct experiments. We will launch Chandrayaan-II with an indigenous rover and lander using GSLV by 2016 or 2017,” Space Secretary K. Radhakrishnan said at a press conference here.

Chandrayaan-I, India’s first mission to Moon, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008 from Sriharikota. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.

Talking about Chandrayaan-II, Mr. Radhakrishnan said a study was done to check if an indigenous lander and rover could be developed which gave a positive feedback after which the ISRO decided to go ahead with the project.

“In May 2012, we conducted a feasibility study on development of a lander and this has been completed. We find that we will be able to develop a lander in India. We need 2-3 years time,” he said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan, however, added that there were a few technological elements in a lander which need to be developed.

“First, we need to reduce the velocity of a lander as it comes for soft landing. Second, to develop the mechanism that is involved in a lander. Third, is to locate precisely where to land by taking pictures and then steering the lander to a place it has to land,” he said.