India plans third Moon mission: Chandrayaan-3. India has announced plans for a third lunar mission on the surface of the Moon months after its last one crash.
India’s space agency president, K Sivan, said work on the unmanned Chandrayaan-3 mission was moving “smoothly.”
He said the country’s target was to start the project in 2020, but by 2021 it could “spread over.”
If successful, achieving a soft landing on the Moon will make India the fourth country and raise its reputation as a low-cost space force.
So far, only Russia, the US and China have succeeded in putting a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon.
Mr. Sivan, the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) chairman, told reporters that Chandrayaan-3 would have a “similar configuration” to the previous mission.
Chandrayaan-2 was India’s space agency’s most ambitious mission ever sought. This aimed at landing on the Moon’s southern pole-in a position that no other landing craft had reached before-to perform tasks like looking for water and minerals, and measuring moonquakes.
But in September, when the module crashed, the high-profile Moon mission failed.
Mr Sivan said that the new mission would land in the same area and “have as its predecessor a lander, rover and propulsion module.”
The new equipment would cost around $35 million (£ 26 million), while the mission’s full cost will be significantly higher.
Jitendra Singh, the space department’s junior minister, said the new mission would be “very commercial.”
“The orbiter is already there, so we’ll cut costs,” he told India’s Times.
Plans for an unmanned Moon mission are only part of India’s larger aspirations to become a low-cost space force.
Mr Sivan said that by 2020, India plans to launch at least 25 space missions.
He said Isro’s plans for his first manned mission to orbit were also making “good progress.” Four astronauts were selected for training, scheduled to start later this month in Russia.
The mission is expected to require up to three astronauts, which is scheduled to take place by 2022. News report on India plans third Moon mission: Chandrayaan-3