Indian Lunar Space Probes and Exploration

TopWatcher

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ISRO seems not able to manage projects. There is long backlog, but no launches. 2-3 launches pr year not a great development.

God know wat ISRO doing behind the curtain.
 

Vamsi

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There is high probability that it will miss 2025 launch window ....cabinet hasn't cleared it yet....it will take atleast 3 years to develop a state of the art orbiter intended for Venus mission from the day it gets approval & do not expect ISRO to develop this Venus orbiter in less than 14 months like they did for Mangalyaan. Mangalyaan reused the old orbiter which was actually meant for CY-2 & hence it took less time.
 

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There is high probability that it will miss 2025 launch window ....cabinet hasn't cleared it yet....it will take atleast 3 years to develop a state of the art orbiter intended for Venus mission from the day it gets approval & do not expect ISRO to develop this Venus orbiter in less than 14 months like they did for Mangalyaan. Mangalyaan reused the old orbiter which was actually meant for CY-2 & hence it took less time.
ISRO inter planetary missions are very rare ,due to budget or what ever may be. Why they cant try lander in first go.

If ISRO know govt rarly approve projects then try the things as much as possible in one go. Now see mangalyaan 2 which is late or not even approved also. If we try lander at first time then atleast we get experience, like we got in CY2.
 

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ISRO inter planetary missions are very rare ,due to budget or what ever may be. Why they cant try lander in first go.

If ISRO know govt rarly approve projects then try the things as much as possible in one go. Now see mangalyaan 2 which is late or not even approved also. If we try lander at first time then atleast we get experience, like we got in CY2.
Before Landing, you must get into orbit, there is no short cut here. Mangalyaan is unofficially a TD mission. Its main aim is to prove their deep space communications & mission management, which they successfully proved & hence the Venus Mission will be a fully science mission unlike Mangalyaan which is a TD. Similarly CY-2 Vikram Lander is also a TD mission which unfortunately failed. Now they intend to prove their Landing capability by CY-3 mission, if successful it will pave way for both Indo-Japanese LUPEX and Mangalyaan-2, both are fully science missions unlike their predecessors
 

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Off course Russia is better partner for exploring Venus than France (French pulled out). Soviets had a weird fetish with Venus and Russians have more information and experience about venus than any other country in world.
ISRO seems not able to manage projects. There is long backlog, but no launches. 2-3 launches pr year not a great development.

God know wat ISRO doing behind the curtain.
COVID shutdown pushed back and ended a lot vendors working for ISRO. Recovering to normal is hence taking time.
The launch frequency will eventually cross 10-15 launches/year because of two new launch pads and opening of new aerospace companies.

As for behind the curtain, missions with political mileage for country; Chandryaan-3 and Gaganyaan are top focus.
ISRO inter planetary missions are very rare ,due to budget or what ever may be. Why they cant try lander in first go.
They aren't rare but recent thing.
ISRO wasn't always major space agency unlike NASA, RFSA, CNSA and CNES. Just 15 years ago, we were in league of Isarel and Iran.

It's just entry of PSLV-XL, GSLV, LVM3 increased "our capabilities" in the things we are not used to do unlike US and Russia. Private aerospace sector and DoS industry will now gradually push India as a great space power (which it is yet to be because of production constraints).

ISRO IMO needs to put off interplanetary missions for later this decade, focus on more and more exploration of moon and focus on developing human spaceflight capabilities and train astronauts. They right now are without long term action plan just adding feats and capabilities aimlessly.

China meanwhile is copy pasting Space Race era Soviet American race doctrines. i.e. send humans and establish presence, focus on moon, build stronger rockets and make assembly line level manufacturing of spacecrafts and rockets to increase launch frequency. This will help to explore other planets easily than making capabilities only when you need to go to that planet.
If ISRO know govt rarly approve projects then try the things as much as possible in one go. Now see mangalyaan 2 which is late or not even approved also.
If we try lander at first time then atleast we get experience, like we got in CY2.
Landing on Mars requires a capable heat shield, complete Martian atmospheric data and far far powerful and heavy retro thruster set than Chandrayaan-2 that can slow down speed of lander on a planet that has nearly 50% gravity of earth.

Venus is a nightmare with size equal to earth with nightmarish gravity and an environment nearly composed of just greenhouse gases. Temperature is too hot that spacecraft can't land on Venusian surface undamaged and unburnt.
Soviets tried to land there but their spacecraft got burnt and broke down in middle of descent phase.


India doesn't have upper stages for direct orbital injection unlike US, Russia and China do. So calculating orbital transfers and verifying them by practically experimenting is more important for India. They can reach moon in 3 days, we take months just because we never bothered to develop upper stage.

So landing on first attempt is easier said than done.
There is high probability that it will miss 2025 launch window ....cabinet hasn't cleared it yet....it will take atleast 3 years to develop a state of the art orbiter intended for Venus mission from the day it gets approval & do not expect ISRO to develop this Venus orbiter in less than 14 months like they did for Mangalyaan. Mangalyaan reused the old orbiter which was actually meant for CY-2 & hence it took less time.
I have a feeling that they have a fad and will launch a light Shukrayaan with some foreign equipments if some people in government have a fad to do so. Better they postpone for good.

A one off Venus mission and even a second Mars mission is of no use anyway. They should concentrate their resources building manned space stations and sending more and more missions to moon to get expertise and somehow develop an upper stage for direct trans-planetary injections.

Only launching more and more space telescopes like Astrosat, XPOSAT, Adiyya, upcoming Moon based telescope etc. suffices current astronomical needs. We don't have upper stages right now. So make an earth bypass to reach venus and then make a Venus bypass to reach Jupiter is just waste of time.
May be 10 years later when India would have hevay and super heavy launchers with upper stages, a space budget of 10~15 billion dollars, a manned space station and a bigger deep space network, ISRO will be able to do interplanetary missions with almost no delays and no foreign support.
 

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Off course Russia is better partner for exploring Venus than France (French pulled out). Soviets had a weird fetish with Venus and Russians have more information and experience about venus than any other country in world.

COVID shutdown pushed back and ended a lot vendors working for ISRO. Recovering to normal is hence taking time.
The launch frequency will eventually cross 10-15 launches/year because of two new launch pads and opening of new aerospace companies.

As for behind the curtain, missions with political mileage for country; Chandryaan-3 and Gaganyaan are top focus.

They aren't rare but recent thing.
ISRO wasn't always major space agency unlike NASA, RFSA, CNSA and CNES. Just 15 years ago, we were in league of Isarel and Iran.

It's just entry of PSLV-XL, GSLV, LVM3 increased "our capabilities" in the things we are not used to do unlike US and Russia. Private aerospace sector and DoS industry will now gradually push India as a great space power (which it is yet to be because of production constraints).

ISRO IMO needs to put off interplanetary missions for later this decade, focus on more and more exploration of moon and focus on developing human spaceflight capabilities and train astronauts. They right now are without long term action plan just adding feats and capabilities aimlessly.

China meanwhile is copy pasting Space Race era Soviet American race doctrines. i.e. send humans and establish presence, focus on moon, build stronger rockets and make assembly line level manufacturing of spacecrafts and rockets to increase launch frequency. This will help to explore other planets easily than making capabilities only when you need to go to that planet.


Landing on Mars requires a capable heat shield, complete Martian atmospheric data and far far powerful and heavy retro thruster set than Chandrayaan-2 that can slow down speed of lander on a planet that has nearly 50% gravity of earth.

Venus is a nightmare with size equal to earth with nightmarish gravity and an environment nearly composed of just greenhouse gases. Temperature is too hot that spacecraft can't land on Venusian surface undamaged and unburnt.
Soviets tried to land there but their spacecraft got burnt and broke down in middle of descent phase.


India doesn't have upper stages for direct orbital injection unlike US, Russia and China do. So calculating orbital transfers and verifying them by practically experimenting is more important for India. They can reach moon in 3 days, we take months just because we never bothered to develop upper stage.

So landing on first attempt is easier said than done.

I have a feeling that they have a fad and will launch a light Shukrayaan with some foreign equipments if some people in government have a fad to do so. Better they postpone for good.

A one off Venus mission and even a second Mars mission is of no use anyway. They should concentrate their resources building manned space stations and sending more and more missions to moon to get expertise and somehow develop an upper stage for direct trans-planetary injections.

Only launching more and more space telescopes like Astrosat, XPOSAT, Adiyya, upcoming Moon based telescope etc. suffices astronomical needs. We don't have upper stages right now. So make an earth bypass to reach venus and then make a Venus bypass to reach Jupiter is just waste of time.
There won't be any light shukrayaan, as of now, it is planned to carry 16 payloads of which 10 are Indian & remaining foreign.

In my opinion,all three verticals like Manned missions, Inter planetary and Astronomy are equally important. We should not neglect any of em
 

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There won't be any light shukrayaan, as of now, it is planned to carry 16 payloads of which 10 are Indian & remaining foreign.
I said if spacecraft can't be ready on time, they may try to push a lighter one.
In my opinion,all three verticals like Manned missions, Inter planetary and Astronomy are equally important. We should not neglect any of em
No they aren't equally important at all. In course of importance,
Manned spaceflight + Perm. Space habitat (station) >> astronomical telescopes > Interplanetary missions. Unless you execute first on top priority, you are just going delay yourself 50 years from settling and your planetary missions will be abysmally slow and little as satellites/landers.
You cannot execute all of them simultaneously be it budget or availability of pads and will certainly end up altogether screwing your space program even if you try to.

Manned space programs are usually executed by states which have long term goals for space. So a long term investment to master earth orbit, space docking, human survival, cargo transfer and communication systems that later helps in executing complex interplanetary missions and even interplanetary manned missions.

Usually countries with long term space goals of settling and mining like US, USSR and PRC move in stages which is Moon exploration, manned space missions and space station expertise to mass production of equipment and later start planet wise major exploration programmes like first Mars, then Venus and then Jupiter-Saturn and their satellites. There they only explore Mars for 5 years and move to Venus for next 5 years.

Countries with no clear goals or aim to lead in as independent space powers like France and Japan usually just collaborate with these states launch a few exploration missions like 2 to 5 spacecraft's to moon/Mars/anywhere else a decade just for the sake of showing their presence. India doesn't fall in either category yet since it's just demonstrating technologies for now.

If India can show maturity focus on adding launch capabilities, frequency, upper stages, training astronauts with experience of space stations and explore moon in full to plan a manned landing even 20 years later, in 10 years, India will be sending multiple missions to every planet program wise.
If India chooses the second path and focuses on interplanetary satellites over technology to control space around the earth, it will be what it's today even after acquiring human space capabilities just for name (just an inflated Iran in that case). Just one or two notable missions a decade with no revolutionary significance.
 

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NASA in it's "dormant" mode has a budget of $40 billions and doing this much. China has a budget of $11 billions and India at $2 billions. So, it's most certainly not fanboyism if we say feats of Americans and Soviets in cold war can achieved by China and India with budgets of $30 billions given current feat.

I'm wondering if another space race breaks out in 2030-40 and national space budgets cross hundreds of billions of dollars again with 50-100 launches an year by each country. Although, the second space race in 21st century might at least settle a base on moon or asteroids if mining doesn't start.

US and Russia can't spend that much anymore, Europe never bothered to develop those things, India is not gonna spend that much for a decade more until it has a $12-15 trillions economy. So China will continue thinning gap with US now. So ISRO needs to do on human spaceflight and moon only with this budget to at least stay within tech curve to push later.:rolleyes:
 

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If the moon has any resources at all that humans can use, the next resource race will be to mine that and get it back to earth. Who gets there first will get it first. So science/astronomy missions while important should take a backseat if they get in the way of heavy launchers, human spaceflight and moon missions, IMHO.
 

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Before Landing, you must get into orbit, there is no short cut here. Mangalyaan is unofficially a TD mission. Its main aim is to prove their deep space communications & mission management, which they successfully proved & hence the Venus Mission will be a fully science mission unlike Mangalyaan which is a TD. Similarly CY-2 Vikram Lander is also a TD mission which unfortunately failed. Now they intend to prove their Landing capability by CY-3 mission, if successful it will pave way for both Indo-Japanese LUPEX and Mangalyaan-2, both are fully science missions unlike their predecessors
CY-2 was not a technology demonstrator. It had a full working rover payload and instruments to map the lunar environment.
 

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US and Russia can't spend that much anymore, Europe never bothered to develop those things, India is not gonna spend that much for a decade more until it has a $12-15 trillions economy.
Russia can't, but the US definitely can still theoretically fund another saga like the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo triad - but it just doesn't get the needed political support. That's why SLS takes advantage of commercial partners and tries to do things in a sustainable way, for a proper space footprint.
 

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Issue is what US get on spending so much money in space race.

Still humans thinking 30-40 times how to live in moon & how safely. Talk of other planet is out of question.

Actually money spent by US/Russia/China just to show supremacy, not to develop technology which help humans can travel to planet & live there safely.
 

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X-rays from the Moon reveal a new lunar map in sodium

Figure 1: Moon in visible light showing the apparent features Mare (dark regions) and Highlands (bright regions)
The X-ray spectrometer CLASS on the Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter has mapped the abundance of sodium on the Moon for the first time.
The serene radiance that fills the vast expanse of a night sky is the reflection of sunlight from the Moon's surface, a major part of which is from the bright lunar highlands. The rock and soil samples that the Apollo 11 astronauts brought to Earth showed that these regions which are remnants of an ancient lunar crust, are mainly composed of silicate minerals in the group plagioclase feldspar series. While these are common minerals found on Earth, lunar samples have a variety of the mineral that contain more of the element Calcium than Sodium (which is an alternative) following the general trend in compositional differences between Earth and Moon. A loss of volatile elements including alkalis like sodium and potassium on the Moon could be traced back to the time when Earth and Moon formed together in a Solar system that was young and fiery.
Successive laboratory investigations of the returned samples (Apollo, Luna and Chang'e) widened the range of compositions but the fundamental conclusions have remained. However, the returned samples are from a few specific regions of the Moon which do not necessarily represent the global lunar composition. Sodium is one of those elements that do not have a telltale signature in the visible or near-infrared wavelengths and has thus not been targeted via remote sensing observations. Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (C1XS) detected sodium from its characteristic line in X-rays which opened up the possibility of mapping the amount of sodium on the Moon.
In a recent work published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Chandrayaan-2 mapped the abundance of sodium on the Moon (Figure 2) for the very first time using its large area X-ray spectrometer, CLASS. Built at the U R Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in Bengaluru, CLASS provides clean signatures of the sodium line thanks to its high sensitivity and performance. The study finds that a part of the signal could be arising from a thin veneer of sodium atoms weakly bound to the lunar grains

Figure 2: A map of sodium abundance on the Moon measured by the Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer plotted on the lunar albedo map from NASA’s LROC camera


Figure 3: Findings from Chandrayaan-2 suggest there are two kinds of sodium atoms on the Moon's surface, those that are loosely bound on the surface and those that are part of the minerals. External agents such as solar radiation liberate the loosely bound atoms more easily thus acting as a source of the atoms in the lunar exosphere.
These sodium atoms can be nudged out of the surface by solar wind or Ultra Violet radiation more easily than if they were part of the lunar minerals. Also shown is a diurnal variation of the surface sodium that would explain the continuous supply of atoms to the exosphere, sustaining it.
An interesting aspect that widens the interest in this alkali element is its presence in the wispy atmosphere of the Moon, a region so thin that the atoms there rarely meet. This region termed an 'exosphere' begins at the surface of the Moon and extends several thousand kilometers merging into the interplanetary space. Potter and Morgan in 1988 measured from ground, sodium atoms in the lunar exosphere. Since then, ground telescopes have taken images of this faint sodium glow around the Moon, which is just the color of light emitted by a sodium vapor lamp. What has been elusive is the source of these atoms on the Moon’s surface. The new findings from Chandrayaan-2, provide an avenue to study surface-exosphere interaction on the Moon, which would aid development of similar models for Mercury and other airless bodies in our Solar System and beyond.
To read the full paper: Sodium Distribution on the Moon Click here
 

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Chandryaan-3 in middle of next year
ISRO plans to launch Chandrayaan-3, its third mission to the moon, in June next year with a more robust lunar rover onboard which is crucial for future inter-planetary explorations. The space agency has also lined up the first test flight of the 'abort mission' for Gaganyaan, the country's first human spaceflight, early next year.
"Chandrayaan-3 (C-3) launch will be in June next year onboard the Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM3)," said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman S Somnath while interacting with media personnel on the sidelines of an event here.
India's maiden attempt to land a rover on the moon ended in failure after the Vikram lander onboard the Chandrayaan-2 mission crashed on the surface of the moon in September 2019.
"C-3 is ready now. It is not a replica of C-2. The rover is there. The engineering is significantly different. We have made it more robust so that it does not have problems like last time," Somnath said.
"There are many changes. The impact legs are stronger. It will have better instrumentation. In case something fails, something else will take over," the ISRO chairman said.
He said the rover will also have different methods to calculate the height to be travelled, identify hazard-free locations and have better software.
 

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