India announces plans for third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3
BENGALURU, INDIA — The Indian Space Research Organization on Tuesday announced plans for a third lunar mission called Chandrayaan-3 and said it is most likely to be launched later this year, according to the Times of India.
Speaking at a press conference, the space agency's chairperson K Sivan explained that the spacecraft's configuration will be similar to its predecessor, Chandrayaan-2.
According to AFP, he said the agency will build a new propulsion module, lander and surface rover for the mission.
Sivan told the Times of India the mission will cut costs by reusing the same orbiter from India's second lunar mission as it is already orbiting the moon.
The aim is to land the spacecraft on the moon's south pole, the same area that the Chandrayaan-2 tried to land in but failed to do so in September of 2019.
If the mission is successful, this would make India the fourth nation to achieve a soft landing on the lunar surface.
India's second moon mission failed as the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft had a hard landing on the moon's south pole and lost communication with Indian spacecraft operators.
The mission was aimed at searching for water and minerals on the moon as well as measuring moonquakes.
Sivan said the Indian space agency plans to launch at least 25 space missions this year as part of India's plans to become a low-cost space power.