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India to go alone in second moon mission

Chennai, Aug 14 (IANS) India will go on its own in its second moon mission without any Russian tie-up, the parliament was told Wednesday.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy said: "Chandrayaan-2 would be a lone mission by India without Russian tie-up."

He said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russian Federal Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS) have been pursuing Chandrayaan-2 as a joint mission under which ROSCOSMOS had the responsibility for the Moon Lander and ISRO had the responsibility to realise the Rover Module, Orbiter and the launch by geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV)/rocket.

Chandrayaan-2, as originally envisaged and approved by the government in September 2008 (at a cost of Rs.425 crore, excluding cost of GSLV and Lander) is an important step in India's planetary exploration.

ISRO has shown its capability for Moon Orbiter (through Chandrayaan-1). Development of Rover Module and a few scientific instruments to be flown on the Orbiter and Rover has made good progress. Some level of experimental studies for the Moon Lander has also been undertaken at ISRO.

Following the failure of the Russian-led interplanetary mission Phobos-Grunt, a sample return mission to Phobos (one of the moons of Mars), decisions have been taken by ROSCOSMOS to increase the reliability of their planetary missions.

The Russian agency suggested that ISRO may provide Indian Rover for launch scheduled in 2015 or in 2017, also indicating that the 2015 opportunity involves mass limitation for Rover and higher risk.

As a result an integrated review of the project was undertaken by a committee chaired by U.R.Rao.

The integrated review of Chandrayaan-2, recommended that India could realise the Lander module in the next few years. Currently the spacecraft is being reconfigured for the proposed Indian Rover and Lander modules.

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