After failing in its first attempt to land on the south pole of the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is gearing up for a do-over- with the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
Yes, a TOI report has revealed that the space agency has started working on the successor of Chandrayaan-2, with a deadline of November 2020.
Here is all you need to know about it.
Second bid to land on the Moon
Ever since the landing attempt of Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 went sideways, ISRO has been working on Chandrayaan-3.
There are no official details but people familiar with the development told TOI that the work is on in full swing.
A mission overview panel has been formed with three sub-committees to check on the progress of the mission and ensure the timeline stays on track.
Four high-level meetings since October
Notably, ISRO's panel and committees have had at least four high-level meetings regarding the mission since October. The latest one took place on November 12 to review the configuration of Chandrayaan-3 and take sub-committee recommendations for propulsion, sensors, overall engineering, navigation and guidance.
Chandrayaan-3 will be a lander-rover mission
According to the sources, ISRO is planning Chandrayaan-3 as a sole Lander-Rover mission because the Orbiter element of Chandrayaan-2 is healthy and functioning well.
They are hoping to make the second landing attempt by November 2020 and have already looked at ten specific aspects of the mission, including landing site selection, absolute navigation, and local navigation.
ISRO figuring out changes to improve Chandrayaan-3
"It's essential to carry out a detailed analysis of the changes for improving the lander system considering the recommendations of both the expert committee [formed to look into Chandrayaan-2 failure] and the recommendations which could not be implemented before," an order read, as per sources.
Orders to improve the lander system
Back in September when Vikram attempted Moon landing, it lost its trajectory during descent and hard-landed at a location different from the targeted site.
Now, ISRO is said to be making system improvements to avoid this; it will be building a new lander and rover with a particular focus on strengthening the legs of the former for safe touch-down, even at high speeds.
Plan to include a detachable propulsion module
The sources stated ISRO is planning the mission with a deadline of November 2020. It is also thinking of including a detachable propulsion module with the craft.
It would carry the fuel and help in taking the lander, which will have an internalized rover, to the lunar orbit. Also, ISRO may reduce the number of maneuvers around Earth and also during lunar orbit transit.
Still, no official details from ISRO on the matter
While the report indicates ISRO hasn't given up the hopes to make India the fourth country in the world to land on the lunar surface, it's imperative to note that there are no official details of the mission yet.
The timeline could still change as there are plenty of complexities involved in a mission of this kind.