BENGALURU • India yesterday said it will launch its second lunar mission in mid-July, as it moves to consolidate its status as a leader in space technology by achieving a controlled landing on the Moon.
The mission, if successful, would make India only the fourth country - behind the United States, Russia and China - to perform a "soft" landing on the Moon and put a rover on it. China successfully landed a lunar rover in January.
The unmanned mission, called Chandrayaan-2, which means "moon vehicle" in Sanskrit, will involve an orbiter, a lander and a rover, which have been built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The mission is scheduled to launch on July 15 aboard ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.
It will cost about 10 billion rupees (S$197 million), said ISRO.
After a journey of more than 50 days, ISRO's lander will attempt a "soft", controlled landing on the lunar surface around Sept 6.
The Indian mission would be the third attempted lunar landing this year, after China's successful Chang'e-4 lunar probe and Israeli spacecraft Beresheet, which failed and crashed onto the Moon in April.