India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will now be launched in the January-March window in 2019 instead of later this year as the design was changed to enable it to land on the lunar surface. We have planned to launch the Chandrayaan mission on January 3. We are fixing with that (date) and targeting that. But that is an open window. We can go up in March also. As we are coming closer (the date), we may miss the target.
The reason for postponing the mission was that there were certain important changes made in the design so that it could easily land on the lunar surface. He was speaking on the sidelines of a function, where the bust of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space mission, was unveiled.
On the space agency’s future missions, Sivan said ISRO also plans to launch 50 satellites in the next three years. The space agency would launch 22 satellites in 2019, the maximum in any year in the history of ISRO. Next year from February to December we plan to have 22 missions with almost two missions per month, which is a very important activity. This tight schedule of programmes we are doing for the first time.
The following month GSAT-7A will be launched, while in December there would be two missions, GSLV-F11 launching AMISAT and GSAT-31, a replacement for INSAT 4CR, whose life will get over by January. ISRO would have two missions Chandrayan-2 by GSLV Mark 3 and the PSLV P45 launching RA-SAT 2B next year. Asked about GSAT 6A, with which communication had been lost after its launch in March 31 this year, he said ISRO has not given up hope and was still trying to establish radar contact with the satellite.