India is heading back to the moon this July 15 with Chandrayaan-2. This time we have added another ambition for the mission — to land on the completely unexplored south polar region of the satellite. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning for an unprecedented, soft landing for the first week of September. Only three countries have succeeded in executing a soft landing (which ensures no damage is done to the vehicle) on the lunar surface, while no country has ever been to the south pole of the moon. Chandrayaan-2 will be a complex three-in-one mission. It will orbit the moon, land on it and rove its surface. Set to cost around Rs.10 billion, it is in line with PM Modi’s space ambitions. The selection for vyomanauts, or astronauts, has already begun for Gaganyaan, the human space flight mission slated for 2022. And plans to build a separate Indian space station have also been made public. With the ISRO eyeing more firsts in the next five years, India’s space-faring may touch astronomical heights.
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