Chandrayaan II will be launched on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) as opposed to the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) (which, as we all know was used to launch the Chandrayaan I satellite and impact probe).
In all probability, the GSLV III will be used for the launch. What makes this so special is the fact that the GSLV III is a completely different three stage launch vehicle and is completely unlike its predecessor the GSLV I.
Fact for the DumDums: There is no GSLV II!! There's the GSLV Mark I (Mk I), the GSLV Mark II (Mk II) and now the GSLV III (Some even call it the GSLV Mark III). GSLV III is made completely from scratch by Indian scientists with almost no external help. The Russian developed cryogenic third stage of the first GSLV will be replaced with an Indian-built cryogenic engine in the GSLV III. Also, the GSLV III will also be able to launch heavier payloads than its predecessor. As such, its success will really push India up on the space exploration front as it will not only prove that we can handle an entire exploration programme with 100% Indian technology, but also that we no longer have to depend on foreign countries for heavier payloads.
Speaking to reporters, Dr. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), also outlined the immediate plans of ISRO. “An ocean satellite, which is in the offing, would be launched by March or April. The satellite will be used to detect surface temperature and extra sensors to map the colour of the ocean have also been added to the satellite.” he said.
Now obviously, this doesn't mean that the Chandrayaan II mission will take the back seat until mid-2009. Preliminary tests on the recently finalised designs have already begun and as of now, its been pretty much smooth sailing for the team.
Meanwhile, top scientists, who were involved in India’s successful unmanned mission to the moon Chandrayaan I will meet on January 29 to analyse the preliminary data generated by the payloads of the satellite. ISRO officials said a day-long deliberation will be held in the city for the first time since the lunar probe blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on October 22 last year.
Details of the second mission are at their preliminary stages and I cannot really get more details at this stage. But I'll surely keep you posted once details emerge. Lets just keep our fingers crossed guys!! ;)
Update: 8:30 AM Jan 29 2009: Chandrayaan 1 just completed 100 days in space..... a huge round of applause for the Chandrayaan team!!
Chandrayaan 2 Design Finalised!! Woot Woot!!